From a Animal physiotherapist to a Doctor in Veterinary Physiology

SAMK’s former student Heli Hyytiäinen was the first physiotherapist in Finland to defend her dissertation in veterinary physiology.

For Heli Hyytiäinen the profession of a vet was always the only possibility. However, in high school she started to consider other options. During her gap year she saw an ad on physiotherapy studies in English at SAMK and she enrolled for physiotherapy studies in Pori.

This is definitely her own field and she says that wouldn’t change it. She always treats sick animals with vets and there is a lot of cooperation.

“There are no conflicts and it is really rewarding to work in a multidisciplinary team. Therefore, I work in clinics and feel that I have a dream job. “


After her studies in physiotherapy, Heli made some deliberate choices. First she started specialisation studies in animal physiotherapy in Lahti and after that she enrolled for a Master’s Degree Programme in Veterinary Physiology in London. Master’s degree studies were the only way for her to complete her doctoral dissertation in the way she wanted to. She had started to collect data for the dissertation already before she started her Master’s degree.

Right after the Master‘s degree studies she started her doctoral studies in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Helsinki. She defended her dissertation on a Finnish Canine Stifle Index in May 2015. The dissertation was the first of its kind in Finland. There are now two people in Europe who have completed their dissertations on animal physiotherapy. The whole world has now six.


Since animal physiotherapy is her passion, Heli Hyytiäinen teaches in all specialization studies in animal physiotherapy at SAMK. In addition, she teaches students studying in the Master ‘s Degree Programme in Veterinary Physiotherapy in Liverpool. She teaches a wide variety of topics but her favourite field is biomechanics. Biomechanics is a specialty on movement: what forces affect it and how the actual movement is carried out.

Client service

The clients mostly consist of dogs and horses. Animal patients have often become paralyzed or they suffer from orthopaedic diseases or injuries. “I’m lucky because my clientele varies. On the one hand I treat athletes, on the other hand I work with very sick clients who get rehabilitation.

Four animal physiotherapists work in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Even worldwide the number of animal physiotherapists is significant.


From Vihti

Bachelor of Health Care, physiotherapist (AMK), SAMK 2000

Master of Science in Veterinary Physiotherapy, Royal Veterinary College , 2012

Doctor of Philosophy (small animal diseases), University of Helsinki, 2015

Main occupations: Researcher, Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Equine Veterinary Centre, Hippomedi

Text: Anne Sankari

Photo: Sanna Hyytiäinen


Young artist of year 2016 – SAMK congratulates

Artist Reima Nevalainen has been nominated as the young artist of year 2016 in Finland. The reward includes a grant of 20,000 euros and an opportunity for a private exhibition in Tampere Art Museum and in Aboa Vetus & Ars Nova, the museum of history and contemporary art in Turku.

Reima Nevalainen is a painter who focuses on people, in particular, people battered by life. He is also Bachelor of Culture and Art, and SAMK alumnus from Kankaanpää Fine Arts.

The Young Artist of the Year Event is a national event which promotes contemporary art and initiates discussion. The reward is intended for young, internationally interesting, Finnish artists under 35 years. The event is arranged by the city of Tampere and Tampere Art Museum. The young artist of the year is chosen by a group of art experts.

Read more about the artist and the event


In the cover photo: Anatomical study I, 2015. Both photos are from Tampere Art Museum website.



The physiotherapist of year 2015 – SAMK congratulates

Master in Health Care (in physiotherapy) Paulina Iiskala has been chosen as the physiotherapist of year 2015. She works as a sales and development manager in Laitila Health Home. Ms. Iiskala is SAMK’s alumna.

Paulina Iiskala works actively to promote the rehabilitation of the elderly at home. She has also designed a rehabilitation concept for peace keepers disabled in difficult crisis management tasks.

The physiotherapist of the year is chosen by the Finnish Association of Physiotherapists (FAP) and Tempur Finland LtD.


The photo is from the website of the Finnish Association of Physiotherapists (FAP).




Riikka Puumalainen, Night, metal graphics, 19,5 x 28,8 cm, 2015

My subjects often arise from nature or from the human’s relationship with nature. I like to use colours on a wide scale. Each work defines the colours used in it; even black and white works are possible. Night is an expression of my other subject area, the person’s inner life and feelings. I use a lot of symbolism in my work.

I’m interested in many graphic techniques but so far I have mostly used metal graphics and wood drawings. Besides graphics I also paint in water colours and combine this technique with ink. However, when I graduate, I want to work as a professional graphic designer.

contact:riikka.puumalainen @ gmail . com,



An Open Mind (to exchange) is a joy forever

‘Do I have to prepare something’, I asked my future superior Ari-Pekka Kainu just before I left for a 12-week exchange to Pori, Finland.

A shorter version of the article available on issuu.

‘Keep an open mind’, he said, ‘and everything will be all right’. And so I did.

However, before I left, a lot of things had to be arranged.

‘Good preparations come in time’, they say and therefore I started with my search for an exchange in September 2014 with the aim to go abroad in April 2015.

I asked A-P (Dean of the ICT Faculty of SAMK), whom I have known since 2008, what SAMK’s perspectives were regarding teacher exchange, and he replied immediately; ‘When can you come?”.

Unfortunately, due to different scheduling, the period I was aiming at was not a good time for SAMK. I would have been in Pori, but teaching would be rather impossible, because there wouldn’t be any students during this period.

SAMK has five modules/periods (8 weeks each) instead of the four modules the Hague University is used to working with. During this 5th module students are mainly in internship or do other kinds of projects. Therefore, my stay should be postponed to August 2015.

To prepare a longer staying, A-P advised me to try a week in Pori. We agreed on a week in February, and during this stay I already taught a few hours (enough hours to comply with the Erasmus agreement). Together with A-P and other members of the management team, we discussed the items to focus on during my longer period in August. We agreed on teaching and research. This visit was very useful because I got to know more future colleagues and learnt more about SAMK.

Finally, it was in the middle of August we, my wife (whom I married just two weeks before our leave) and I got on a road trip to Finland. Although the trip lasted almost three days, it was a good decision to go by car. In advance, I thought about how convenient it would be to have my own car at hand and having the opportunity to travel a lot and do some sightseeing.

We arrived on Sunday, and a (future) colleague was waiting for us with a key to my new residence. A small house was arranged by SAMK, enough space for a man alone and with all the comfort men could wish. A Finnish bathroom was included as well, which I learned to love.

Although Finland is known for its cold temperature, it was around 25 degrees the whole first week. As I heard later, this was the only period with lots of sun, and people titled these few days of good weather; their ‘Finnish summer’. The temperature was very high in ‘my time’, although sometimes it was already 10 degrees below zero at night later that period.

Once I had settled and unpacked the car, we had the time to do the groceries and learn to know the neighbourhood. I noticed right away that everyday groceries would be more expensive than in the Netherlands (this is because of differences in VAT).

We walked through the lovely neighbourhood, called Paradise Hill, only three kilometres from the university, and went to the city centre to get acquainted with the area.

The first week of my stay would be the introduction week, not only for me but also for all the new students. New students were introduced by student tutors wearing overalls with tags of parties or events they went to. Apparently the more tags you have, the better ‘student’ you are. Every faculty has an overall with its own colour and I saw them wearing these overalls throughout the whole period.

I also got introduced to a lot of Finnish people with all kinds of (for me) difficult Finnish names. Also, a few Dutch and Belgium students arrived but I didn’t often see them during my stay and was doomed to speak English and a little Finnish the whole time. English is not a problem, but also after a Finnish course, my Finnish was good enough for saying hello and other basics. A good conversation in such a foreign language was not possible.

The introduction ended with the ‘Kurnajaiset’ where new students (as part of the introduction) and old students (to ensure they would keep their records), crawl on their hands and knees through the city centre. A nice event which ended in several bars, not to get drunk, but probably to lose the feeling of pain in arms and legs.

A prepaid cell phone, with unlimited access to calls, sms and data, came in handy. The (technical) infrastructure in Finland is much further ahead compared to other countries in Europe or even the world. I had the feeling my mobile data traffic in Finland was even faster than my (wired) connection at home. This phone made it possible to stay in touch with home through facetime or skype and the opportunity to speak some Dutch once in a while.

Finland’s summer ended with fireworks in the lovely ‘bay’ area the weekend after the introduction. It was time to say goodbye to my wife and really start working.

During my stay, I took up teaching in different areas of expertise. Some cultural differences between the Netherlands and Finland, business, project management, Entrepreneurship subjects, Blue Ocean Strategy, in both undergraduate and in Master courses.

I learned students from Finland differ from students in other countries (at least in the countries south of Finland).

Having class at eight, students are on time and rather arrive and are prepared 10 minutes before the class starts. Only the exchange students are often late, which is not much appreciated by teachers. Not only students are on time, Finns in general are very punctual, coming late is ‘not done’.

It also occurred to me, most students are withdrawn or shy. Colleagues told me later, it also has to do with being afraid to speak (correct) English. They rather don’t speak English, instead of making a lot of errors.

I think I’m more direct (also in my teaching), although A-P made a good point by asking me; ‘Why did it take 14 years to ask your wife to marry you, if you are that direct?’.

I had to work hard to get the students more involved in a Q&A/discussion way of teaching.

I used the ‘marshmallow challenge’ a lot in different metaphors, and I will probably be remembered as ‘The Spaghetti-man’. I also used a lot of videos to ‘tell’ something about the Netherlands and Dutch in particular with a rather diminishing approach of our inhabitants, except for the ‘Breakfast’ video of course.

Except for the chocolate sprinkles children get at breakfast, I brought a lot of ‘stroopwafels’ (a Dutch treat), liquorice and in October (my wife, who visited me seven times, took them on a plane) Dutch St Nikolas treats (chocolate in the form of a letter and ‘pepernoten’) to break the ice (or tongue) with colleagues and/or students. I made a lot of friends trying to bribe them (ha ha) with all the sweets and colleagues asked me, upon my leaving, what they would do without me, if I wasn’t there anymore to fill their needs for Dutch sweets.

I love(d) my colleagues inviting me to all kind of activities, from visiting their summer cottage to an ice hockey or pesäpallo game and pointing out all kinds of things to see. I really learned a lot about Finland and the warmly welcoming Finnish people. I got used to Finnish habits, like an early warm meal for lunch (pea soup on Thursday) and having a sauna (in my case, every other day). I even had the opportunity to speak to Santa Claus and witness the Northern lights.

I surely can recommend a (longer) stay in Finland, as a teacher or student, but also as a tourist.

My stay in Finland will surely lead to a follow up, while the Universities intend to do projects and research together, and although there is no contract (yet) a handshake in Finland is binding as well.

I would like to thank all of you for making my exchange in Finland a joy forever.

Marcel van Geffen

Research project on urban development launched in Namibia

Satakunta University of Applied Sciences (SAMK) and the Polytechnic of Namibia (PON) launched a new research project on urban resource efficiency on 1 October 2015. Main themes for the project are clean water and sanitation, renewable energy, housing and ICT and Internet of Things (IoT) in Namibia.

 The two-year project is called NAMURBAN (Urban Resource Efficiency in Developing Countries) – pilot study of Walvis Bay, Namibia. NAMURBAN is financed by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation Tekes, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, SAMK and ten Finnish companies. It has a total budget of 440.000 euros, approximately 6.6 Million NAD.

NAMURBAN widens the co-operation between SAMK and PON

SAMK has entered into a co-operation agreement with PON on issues relating to land and sea since 2012. The co-operation has been related to especially on the marine research vessel R/V Mirabilis and maritime education.

NAMURBAN widens the co-operation between SAMK and PON from education to research and development work. The aim of the project is to develop a framework for urban resource efficiency utilization in developing countries using   Namibia as the pilot country. NAMURBAN is part of Business with Impact (BEAM) program, funded by Tekes and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. BEAM goals are to meet the needs of developing countries and to provide Finnish companies with new business opportunities in these growing markets.

Ten Finnish companies active in the project

In the project, ten Finnish companies are actively participating and presenting high know-how and technology on housing, renewable energy, water and sanitation as well as ICT and IoT applications. The companies are Aquapure Ltd., Fimuskraft Ltd., GA90 Recycling Ltd., IntLog Ltd., Naps Solar Systems Inc., Rannan Teollisuuskone Ltd., Riffid Ltd., Sansox Ltd., Scanhomes Ltd., and SWOcean Ltd.

The specific solutions of NAMURBAN are based on the analysis of the current situation and needs for urban technology and systems in Namibia.

Coastal town Walvis Bay as the pilot site

Namibia’s vision 2030 states that by the year 2030, Namibia will be a prosperous and industrialized country, developed by its human resources, enjoying peace, harmony and political stability. Namibia’s National Development plan (NDP4) focuses on increased income equality, employment creation, and high and sustained economic growth. The economic priority areas are logistics, tourism, manufacturing and agriculture.

The research project will be the first to study and develop a sustainable technological concept on urban environments in developing counties using a pilot site, coastal town of Walvis Bay in Namibia. The expected results include proposals for solutions on affordable housing, increase in renewable energy and clean water in Namibia.

Text by project manager Minna Keinänen-Toivola, Ph.D.

Photo: The NAMURBAN project was officially launched on 1st of October 2015 in a ceremony at the Residence of H.E. Ambassador of Finland, Ms. Anne Saloranta in Windhoek, Namibia. In the photo, from left Ms., Ambassador Anne Saloranta, Embassy of Finland, Windhoek (Namibia), Dr., Rector Tjama Tjivikua, Polytechnic of Namibia, and Dr., project manager Minna Keinänen-Toivola, Satakunta University of Applied Sciences. Photo by Heikki Koivisto.

A Leap Towards Solar Energy

There is a growing interest in solar energy in Finland. The systems are becoming more common and it is easier to get the information. As a result, the threshold of producing your own energy has become lower.

Households have become more interested in solar energy systems due to the considerable decline of solar energy system prices during the past few years. In addition, several people think that it is important to increase the use of renewable energy forms in order to reduce the impact of climate change.

SOLARLEAP Satakunta is a joint project of SAMK and vocational education institute WinNova which started at the beginning of the year and will continue until end of 2016. The aim is to remove barriers from using solar energy. These include, e.g. the small amount of companies in the business, shortage of experts and the complexity of permission and agreement practices.

The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. Synergy is provided by SOLARLEAP Varsinais-Suomi project, which is a similar project going on in the neighboring region Varsinais-Suomi in co-operation of Turku University of Applied Sciences and Vocational Institute of Turku.

Over 130 households signed up for SOLARLEAP Satakunta pilot survey. In this survey the possibilities for these households to utilize solar energy are mapped. Ten households are selected as pilot sites. These households purchase with the help of SAMK’s students a solar energy system, which is installed by WinNova’s students in the project.

Solar energy system performances of these pilot sites will be monitored during the following five years providing concrete follow-up information open for the public. This helps all interested people to see how solar energy systems work in ordinary Finnish residential houses.

Training for entrepreneurship

In order to make use of the demand for solar energy by the households the companies need to develop their services. The staff of SOLARLEAP Satakunta arranged solar training for project partner companies. Some of these companies are already working in the field and other aim for the solar energy markets along with the project.

The purpose of this training was to provide them with the basic information of solar energy technologies, marketing and system design. The aim was to promote the competitiveness of the companies and to improve the processes inside the companies. The training also had participants from the municipal construction authorities.

New competences through practical project learning

Students are involved in designing and installing the solar energy systems in the pilot sites. As a result, new competent professionals are trained to the field.

During the summer 2015 SAMK’s students together with the SAMK project engineers carried out operation where solar energy utilization possibilities were mapped for each household signed for the pilot survey.

During autumn 2015 and spring 2016 SAMK students will plan a solar energy system for the selected households. Students are in charge of the overall process from design and of acquisition of the solar energy system to installation and commissioning.

Text: Meri Olenius & Teemu Heikkinen
The writers are project engineer and project manager of the project. Cover photo by Katri Väkiparta: A part of the SAMK Solar Energy Lab.

More information on
Teemu Heikkinen, project manager, teemu.heikkinen(a)