The multidisciplinary LEE team consists of researchers from the Department of Education and the Department of Geosciences and Geography in the University of Helsinki. They collaborate closely with the project called Mixed Classes and Pedagogical Solutions, which focuses on inclusive practices in urban schools.
Venla Bernelius is an Assistant Professor in Urban Geography and Regional Studies at the University of Helsinki. Her education and working life have centered on a deep fascination on research and building an understanding of the world through science. Making a social impact through collaboration outside the academia has also played a major role in her work. She has a Ph.D in Urban Geography from the University of Helsinki, and she has studied Geography, Statistics and Social Sciences in Finland and Sweden. Before becoming an Assistant Professor in Urban Geography and Regional Studies, she worked as a lecturer researcher in several academic research projects, as well as in EU projects and collaborations between universities and governance actors.
Bernelius's main academic interests have been to understand socio-spatial development in cities, and the way that impacts the society and its institutions. Most of her work focuses on segregation and schools, in search of the mechanisms through which the processes of differentiation operate. However, as Geography is a wonderfully diverse subject, she has also studied themes from trust and solidarity in neighbourhoods to the housing preferences of highly skilled immigrants in Helsinki.
Sara Juvonen, MA (Educ.), is a doctoral candidate in the University of Helsinki. Juvonen's research interests come from the field of educational sociology and politics and include themes such as segregation and social justice of education. She has previously worked in the Research Unit focusing on the Sociology and Politics of Education (KUPOLI) at the University of Helsinki in research projects concerning e.g. Nordic education politics. Her dissertation focuses on social capital and teacher collaboration.
Sonja Kosunen is assistant professor of education and holds a title of docent in sociology of education and urban studies. Her research is focused on the (re-)production of inequalities in education and society. The research themes comprise educational choices in the lifecourse, school and urban segregation, education politics and privatisation of education. Kosunen leads three research projects (LEE, MAPS and PAHE), which all deal with inequliaties in different stages of education from early childhood education through higher education. Kosunen works as assistant professor in Swedish-speaking teacher education.
Tiina Luoma, MA (Educ.), MA (Finnish Literature), is a doctoral candidate at the University of Helsinki. She is conducting her PhD research within the LEE project, and she is interested in social relations and diversified interactions in the school community. She has several years of experience in teaching Finnish in comprehensive school as well as in integration training for adult immigrants. Before her doctoral studies, she worked as a researcher in a project that investigated immigrants’ employment and well-being in Finland.
Riikka Oittinen (M.Sc, geography) is a doctoral candidate at the University of Helsinki. She is conducting her PHD research within the LEE project. Her dissertation focuses on mechanisms of segregation in schools and neighbourhoods and segregation in different life domains of pupils. Previously, she has worked as a teacher and in research projects and teaching development projects at the University of Helsinki.
Marja Peltola DSocSc is a post-doctoral researcher in sociology and youth research. Much of her research has focused on questions of intersectionality, (multi)ethnicity, and close relationship. Recently she has studied changing masculinities in the context of multicultural schools in Helsinki.
Heidi Vartiainen Huilla, MA (History), MA (Educ.), works as a doctoral student in the Research Unit focusing on the Sociology and Politics of Education (KUPOLI) at the University of Helsinki at the Faculty of Educational Sciences. Her dissertation focuses on critical school improvement and disadvantaged schools in urban environments. She is also interested in policies and practices of school choice, and inclusion and exclusion in education. Before her doctoral studies, she worked seven years as a teacher in history, civics, and religious studies.