WiTLAB alumni stories

Meet the professionals who have participated in WiTLAB's courses and collaborative projects through time! On this page, you find interviews where the alumni share their learning experiences and career journeys after graduating from Aalto University.

Eve Zorawska

Sustainable Global Technologies alumna, UNHCR Shelter & Settlements officer

Meet Eve, an alumna of the Sustainable Global Technologies studio at Aalto University 2016. Eve graduated as an architect and urban planner in 2018 and works now for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency as a Shelter and Settlements Officer in Chad. In this video, Eve shares with us what inspired her to apply to the Sustainable Global Technologies course during her studies, and what taught her the most from this real-life project course for her career in humanitarian coordination.

“My biggest take away from real-life project courses has been the introduction to socially inclusive approaches and methods. The course provided us tools on how to better identify marginalized groups among a population and how to create safe spaces for them to participate in a design or decision making process.”

Lassi Tähtinen

Sustainable Global Technologies alumnus, Doctoral candidate at Aalto University Department of Built Environment

Lassi is an alumnus of the Sustainable Global Technologies studio at Aalto University in 2018. He graduated from the Creative Sustainability Master’s programme in 2022 with a major in Real Estate. Currently, he works as a doctoral researcher and a project coordinator at RESCUE - Finland (Real Estate and Sustainable Crisis Management in Urban Environments) in the Department of Built Environment at Aalto University. In this video, Lassi highlights how he is applying the skills and insights gained from the real-life project course in his professional career. He also articulates his recommendation of such courses for others seeking similar experiences. 

“The real-life cases provides an opportunity to realize how the practical context can affect the theoretical understanding and abstractions of sustainability issues.”

Ali Haji Khamis

Doctoral researcher in Design and Architecture at Aalto University, member of the WiTLAB research team

Ali is from Zanzibar, Tanzania, where he has previously worked at the Zanzibar Department of Urban and Rural Planning. His upcoming doctoral thesis examines the role of planning in conserving urban cultural heritage throughout the rapid urbanisation of Zanzibar City. In this video, Ali shares his perspective on the significance of academic mobility across diverse universities worldwide.

"I do recommend these kind of mobilities and collaborations between universities, it is a way of shaping your mind in understanding the same thing in a different angle."

Inari Virkkala

City in Crisis alumna, Project manager at Y-Säätiö

Inari is an alumna of the City in Crisis (now called Interplay of Cultures) studio at Aalto University in 2009. After completing her master's degree in 2012, Inari and her team at Komitu Architects successfully executed the design and construction of the Kouk Khleang Youth Center in Cambodia - an opportunity gained from their involvement in the City in Crisis studio. Currently, Inari works at Y-Säätiö, a non-profit organisation that promotes social justice by providing affordable rental housing. In this video, Inari shares how a student's real-life case evolved into a sustainable project and highlights the valuable lessons she gained from this journey.

”I definitely recommend these kinds of real-life project courses for broadening your perspective and opening up your thinking of solving much more complex issues.”


Image of Niina Rinne

Niina Rinne - WiTLAB collaborator

Niina is an alumna of the Creative Sustainability programme, currently working at UN-Habitat in Nairobi as a Programme Management Officer

Image of Emma Lappalainen

Emma Lappalainen - City in Crisis alumna

Emma is an architect and alumna of the ‘City in Crisis’ studio 2010, currently working as the CEO and lead consultant at Finngroup Consultants

Image of Maria Hedengren

Maria Hedengren - Cities in Transition alumna

Maria is an architect currently working as a creative director, marketing strategist and planner

Image of Milja Lindberg

Milja Lindberg - WiTLAB research alumna

Milja is a Finnish-Canadian architect and independent researcher from the early years of WiTLAB’s research group


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