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Student Spotlight: Valerie Helminen, Graphic Design

March 30, 2021

Sophomore Valerie Helminen, a graphic design major from Calumet, Mich. couldn’t seem to find the right fit when it came to colleges. Having previously attended Michigan Tech and four other schools, Helminen was looking for her next move. While attending Utica College in New York pondering what her next plan was, it seemed she had found it when her dad mentioned that Finlandia was looking for goalies. 

“I was in New York playing hockey when my dad had heard Finlandia needed some more goalies,” said Helminen. “I had just decided to do graphic design as my major so I looked into Finlandia’s graphic design program and it was awesome.” 

Breaking her own personal record by finally attending a college for more than one semester, Helminen really loves the graphic design program here at Finlandia. 

“The graphic design program is amazing,” said Helminen. “The lab here is super nice. Whenever you need anything in the lab, you have access to it. I have always liked art but never knew how I could make money off of it or do it commercially. Graphics and making logos is super interesting.” 

Talking about the professors in the graphic design program, Helminen mentioned Tom Adolphs as one of her favorites. 

“He is willing to help you with anything,” said Helminen. “If you are working on a project outside of class he is willing to help you. He makes tutorials on how to use a specific tool for the students; he does whatever he can to help.” 

Thriving in the classroom as well by making the Honors and Dean’s list, it really seems Finlandia and Helminen have made a perfect fit. She says the professors helped her succeed. 

“They are willing to work with you if you have any issues,” said Helminen. “I had Covid-19 last semester and I was given more time to complete some assignments. With the online format, Finlandia has done a pretty job of working with Canvas and Zoom.”  

Helminen came to Finlandia University during pre-COVID times and misses that experience. 

“I miss the student experience,” Helminen said. “I don’t know many of my classmates because it is hard to meet them outside of school.” 

Although Covid-19 has taken a lot from Helminen – a normal school year, a chance to get involved in more things on campus, and taking away the women’s hockey teams season – she did get a chance to play on the new esports team. 

“I have friends on the esports team and I had been in their facilities before,” Helminen said. “Unfortunately, a part of the Valorant team was not eligible to play this semester and they needed more players and asked me to play; that is how I got involved with Esports.” 

Helminen is excited about the new esports space. 

“The esports room in the old Hancock High school building is really nice,” she said. “It is set up with the top performing computers. My teammates have been very helpful and understanding since there are a lot of newer players on the team.” 

There is one more perk Finlandia had to offer Valerie; being close to home. 

“It’s really nice [going to school close to home],” said Helminen. “I don’t have to worry about paying to live in the dorms. The best part is being close to family. When I was in New York, I missed seeing my younger cousins, so now it’s nice to be at home and see everyone again. Having familiarity with the weather and the area here is also nice. I liked getting away but coming back has been awesome.” 

Helminen said she’d be glad to see more Calumet grads attending FinnU and admitted that it was often overlooked by her classmates. 

“When I was at Calumet, I didn’t think about going to Finlandia at all,” said Helminen. “Finlandia is a great school that has a lot of great programs. You should definitely look into Finlandia if they have a program that you are interested in.” 

Story written by Communications Intern Brenna Ceglar. 

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