Alumni Gathering in Minneapolis

Former Fulbright Finland scholars and grantees gathered in Minneapolis on May 12

Eight people responded to the call to attend the Happy Hour for Fulbright Finland at the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study conference in Minneapolis, May 2017. The conference began with a tour of St. Olaf College’s archival libraries, and it was good news to hear that this Norwegian archive is also collecting works by other Nordic authors, including Finnish-American authors.  Fulbright alumni, grantees and scholars are encouraged to make their works available to the St. Olaf archives. Books can be donated, or the libraries can be advised of purchase agreements. The archives are being upgraded to be more climate- controlled and able to accommodate dated and archival documents from previous centuries.

The SASS conferences  schedule was intense, so finding a convenient time for the alumni get-together was a challenge.  It was wonderful to meet FLTA grantees from Finland, who came to talk about their experiences teaching Finnish language in Minnesota and Indiana.  A Fulbright scholar from the 1950s also came to share her book and give us all some perspective on how far, broad and wide the Fulbright experience in Finland has been and continues to be.

We sampled some delicious appetizers from the very creative kitchen at the Hyatt Regency and enjoyed getting to know each other, and of course some of us had met earlier in the day at the various conference sessions recognizing the 100th anniversary of  Finland’s independence.

Marlene Broemer, FoFF gathering host


  • Marlene Broemer, Finlandia University (2000 Fulbright scholar at University of Helsinki) The Chronotope of Independence: War and History in Some Poems of Edith Södergran and  Nordic Crime Fiction
  • Andrew Nestingen, University of Washington (1996 Fulbright student at University of Helsinki) Belonging and Difference over 100 Years: Kaurismäki on Finland’s Centenary
  • Kendra Willson, University of Turku (2011 Scholar at Turku) Finno-Ugric Studies, A Saga King in a Finnish Beijing Opera
  • Jason Lavery, Oklahoma State University, docent at University of Helsinki (1992 Fulbrighter to Austria, in History) Advantages and Hindrances: Mikael Agricola as a Writing Reformer
  • Karen Erickson, Southern New Hampshire University (1959 scholar at University of Helsinki) book on Finnish correspondence is forthcoming
  • Elisa Räsänen, (2013 FLTA grantee at Indiana University)
  • Kirsi Leskinen, (2016 FLTA grantee at University of Minnesota)


Jason and Kirsi on the left; Andy, Kendra, and Elisa on the right. Karen Erickson and Marlene Broemer not shown. Photo by Marlene Broemer





Text: Marlene Broemer, Fulbright Finland Alumni