Education Blog

Meet the new colleague: Raisa Ahtiainen

From February 2022, Raisa Ahtiainen works as a Visiting Research Fellow of Educational Leadership in Tallinn University School of Educational Sciences.


Please describe yourself in one sentence.

The people I work with inspire me, and curiosity, creativity, and opportunities for learning more about new phenomena drive me as a researcher.

I chose Tallinn University and colleagues at Tallinn University chose me.

Raisa Ahtiainen

How has your professional journey led you to your current position?

Currently, I work as a Principal Investigator and Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Helsinki and have been welcomed as a Visiting Researcher to Tallinn University. I lead my own research projects, teach, and supervise PhD students. I started as a master’s level student in the Centre for Educational Assessment (University of Helsinki), ended up doing my PhD research and along with that, started to gradually build up my network in Finland and abroad.

To grow as a researcher, I felt it was important to work with different scholars in several research projects. I have learned that academic life – and life in general – is full of planned and coincidental encounters that can lead to new opportunities and for me it has meant that I have met the right people during the critical moments in my career. Moreover, I have been open to new opportunities and said “yes” more often than “no”.

Why did you choose Tallinn University as your new place of work?

I chose Tallinn University and colleagues at Tallinn University chose me. It was a natural choice. Professor Eve Eisenschmidt’s research group and I have common interests; we want to explore the multifaceted phenomenon of leadership in the context of education. We started our collaboration gradually in 2018 and have been moving forward since. Besides, I like the academic spirit of my colleagues – both students and researchers alike – in Tallinn University.

What is your biggest achievement and / or biggest dream?

In the academic world, I dream about having an opportunity to create sustainable working cultures in research communities. By that I mean sustainability regarding financial and human resources, and also wellbeing among the researchers. In my private life, I dream about relaxed dinners with a big group of friends outdoors by the sea.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love reading romantic novels and doing pilates and yoga.

Recommend us a book or a movie that impacted you.

Alyson Richman’s The Lost Wife is a book that I still remember, 10 years after reading it. This book has many messages that are – unfortunately – timely at the current situation in Europe.