Iris is from the greater Seattle area and has been surrounded by Nordic culture for all of her life. With her mom being from Finland, she learned how to speak Finnish at a young age and has always had an interest in global affairs. Eventually these personal connections transitioned into academic ones.
In 2019, she received her BAs in Political Economy and Finnish Language with a minor in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Washington. This allowed Iris to cultivate an academic niche, where she generally looked at European affairs, but with a Nordic emphasis. A notable example of this was in her senior capstone, where she wrote a 25-page paper that looked at how Finland’s right-wing party the Perussuomalaiset (Finns Party) fit into the greater populist trend occurring across Europe.
Although Iris has maintained this particular Nordic focus, she started her communications and development internship at the World Affairs Council with the intention of learning more about other regions, disciplines, issues, and cultures. Her background with Finnish allowed her to appreciate how local and global collide. As a result, she is excited to learn more about how she can engage Seattle residents in these multifaceted, global discussions through her internship.