Alumni Gathering in New Haven, CT, March 2014

Alumni of the Finnish-American Fulbright program gathered together in New Haven, CT on March 15, 2014.

Alumni gather together to share memories and speculate about future opportunities to collaborate. Carl, Liz, and Frog proudly show off their new Fulbright Finland…for the Future t-shirts! Thank you for supporting this initiative: Friends of Fulbright Finland Alumni Enrichment Fund.
Those present included student grantees Carl Rahkonen (1983), Sharon Franklin-Rahkonen (1985), Liz Peterson (2000), Frog (2000), Maureen Farrell (2002) and partner, Tim Frandy (2009),  Lauren Holmes Frankel (2010), Jacquelyn Gleisner (2010), Suzanne Louis (2001 MCPD grantee),  and scholar grantees, Cheryl Fish (2006) and Cheryl Greenberg (2002 Bicentennial Professor in American Studies) and Dan Lloyd (2007) and their 2 daughters.  We renewed memories of our days in Finland and explored opportunities for future collaborations.  These alumni are artists, musicians, writers, professors and staff at universities, service volunteers, researchers, and organizational leaders.


Several alumni were attending an academic conference at Yale. The Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study and the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies convened a joint conference this year.  Presenting at the conference were:  Carl Rahkonen, Lauren Frankel, Tim Frandy, Frog, Liz Peterson, and Andy Nestingen.  Carl, who was a graduate student grantee at Sibelius Academy in 1983 and now is a professor of music and music librarian at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, presented a lecture on his current research on Finnish composer Martti Nisonen who emigrated to teach at Suomi College in Michigan in the 1920s. 

Carl Rahkonen is researching the musical compositions of Finnish-American composer, Martti Nisonen.

Carl discovered the large collection of Nisonen compositions at now Finlandia University and continues to examine his works, with special attention to Nisonen’s expression of Finnish nationalism.  Also in the field of music, Lauren Holmes Frankel, graduate student grantee at Sibelius Academy in 2010, provided insight from her doctoral research about Finnish nationalism and the establishment of the new national opera largely in the 1970s and ‘80s.


Two alumni are folklore specialists.  Tim Frandy, 2009 doctoral student grantee from the University of Wisconsin, working on Sami topics in Lappi, spoke on “The Seven Sami Names for the Wolf.”  Frog, 2000 grantee at Helsinki University and currently docent researcher there, spoke on mythology in the Austmarr, the Scandinavian/Baltic region pre-16th century.

Lauren Frankel’s Nordic folk music group, Linnunrata, performs at the conference final banquet. Lauren plays the accordion.

Elizabeth Peterson, 2000 student grantee at Helsinki University and currently a member of the teaching faculty in the Department of English, spoke on the word “pliis” and how this magic English word has become transformed into Finnish.  Andrew Nestingen, Associate Professor at the University of Washington, spoke on “Aki Kaurismäki and the White Messiah Film” and chaired several additional panels.  His Fulbright student grant was in 1996.


Sharon Franklin-Rahkonen, University of Helsinki student grantee in 1985 and currently Associate Professor of History at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, served as one of the organizers and co-chairs of the joint SASS-AABS conference.