About me

Welcome! So glad you found my site. I am Maria Törnroos, a work and organizational psychologist and a PhD survivor. My mission is to improve work life, both within academia and beyond. I created this site as a part of my new job so that I could share advice and support for doctoral researchers and early career researchers on their academic journey. But before I dive into details about the job, let’s focus on how I got here in the first place.

I’ve always been interested in human behavior at work.

Why do some people get stressed, but not others? What is it that makes people feel good at work? What drives people into certain occupations and certain jobs?

I sought answers to these questions during my Masters in psychology at the University of Helsinki and continued on to a doctoral degree in work and organizational psychology. In my PhD thesis on personality and work stress I examined the role of personality traits in how stressful people perceive their work environment.

After my PhD, I continued my quest for the holy grail in work wellbeing, with research on person-occupation fit, the wellbeing-effects of leadership and HR-practices, and how organizations can mitigate the negative effects of workplace bullying on health.

All along, I felt I was doing meaningful work but that something was still missing. I was a spectator. On the one hand, I was a passive researcher with no way of influencing the wellbeing of the individual employees I was studying. On the other hand, I watched doctoral students and academic staff tackle challenges that should not be theirs to tackle or at least not alone. I felt helpless. I wanted to act.

So I left. And it turned out to be the best decision of my life.

Because, luckily for me, I was not the only one worried about the wellbeing of doctoral researchers in Finland. Aalto University, as the first university in Finland, decided to open a position as psychologist for doctoral researchers. I started in this position in August 2020. If you want to know more about this position and why it is needed, you can read my first blogpost here.

If you want to see what I’ve done during my academic career, you can check out my publications here.

With this site, I want to provide the support and advice you need to not just survive, but to succeed and thrive on your PhD journey. Let me be your pathfinder. <3

You can contact me via e-mail firstname.lastname [at] aalto.fi

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