Grant Secretary Maria Roivas supports grantees in their work and enjoys birdwatching in her spare time 

Kuva/photo: Heidi Strengell

Maria Roivas started at Kone Foundation as Grant Secretary in August. Her responsibilities include advising grantees on issues such as changes in their projects.

Maria graduated last spring with a master’s degree in social sciences, majoring in Peace and Conflict Research. Maria describes herself as a social science generalist. She has also studied sociology and anthropology, and she has expertise in Russian and Eastern European studies.

An important part of Maria’s everyday life during her studies were her various positions of trust. For example, she has served as a city councillor in Joensuu and has actively participated in various student organisations.

As Kone Foundation’s Grant Secretary, Maria supports and guides grantees through the challenges of project work, such as changes to their situations. Maria is familiar with project research work, as she worked as a trainee and researcher with the National Archives’ Finns in Russia project before starting at the Foundation.

Three questions for the Grant Secretary 

What has it been like to work at Kone Foundation so far? 

I have been very warmly welcomed. I remember when I came to the job interview and I was really nervous, but once I had a glass of water in my hand and sat down, I immediately felt relaxed. It’s been the same ever since. I find it easy to be myself here. 

The work has also felt meaningful and has been nice and varied. Something new comes along every day.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I read fiction and am a boardgame enthusiast.

I also like birdwatching. I started during the corona pandemic, and over the last few years birdwatching has become one of the most important things in my life. In Helsinki, I live close to birdwatching towers so I have easy access to my hobby.

I also really like visiting museums – the museum card is a great invention!

If you could be any animal, which would you choose?

I’m a cat person, so I’d be a house cat that purrs under the blanket but is also active. Cats have the right balance between activity and rest. That’s what I pursue in my life too.