UA Blog

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Maija Absetz

Maija Absetz, from the University of Helsinki, was Highly Commended in the History category in2016 for her paper: “Statistics as a rhetorical mode – The Meaning and Use of Statistics in the English 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act"

Maija still lives in Helsinki, Finland and started her Master’s programme in History last year. She will graduate next year but before that she has an adventure before her: she will study Russian linguistics and culture at the Kazan Federal University in Tatarstan, Russia for half a year.

“The best thing you can learn from studying at the university is what to do with all the freedom and responsibility. I love to organise my days, set goals, and pursue them. It takes a lot of self-discipline to study and work but it requires even more to manage your schedules so that you also have time for the other important things in life: seeing friends and dancing to your hearts content. I hope to use these skills after graduation as well.”

Right now she is studying Russian linguistics and writing her Master’s thesis on Finnish unemployment legislation in the 1980’s. They are sort of “modern poor laws”, a theme she already studied in her Bachelor’s thesis. Although the era and country have changed, the topics and themes of interests are the same: how do policymakers justify their decisions concerning the unemployed. Maija is very grateful for the opportunities afforded to her after participating in The Undergraduate Awards.

“Power, moral and fairness are still themes that intrigue me. Writing my dissertation, which I sent to the Undergraduate Awards(UA) 2016, made me realise that I enjoy doing research. Because of the award I received from UA, I was able to publish my text in a Finnish web journal and it has probably helped me get a few study grants.”

After the UA experience she finished her Bachelor’s Degree and worked as a trainee for six months at a Military Museum operated by the Finnish National Defence Forces. By giving daily guided tours about the military history of Finland, both in English and in Finnish, she learned the skill of popularising science. Although she is heading for an academic career, she believes it to be crucial not only to find out complicated interconnections between historical phenomena but also to learn to explain them to whomever –  a professor, a PhD student or a schoolgirl.

If you would like to find out how to submit to this year's Undergraduate Awards click here.