Social-Emotional Skills in the Digital Age

Lecture | January 30 | 12-1 p.m. | 201 Moses Hall

 Inka-Kristiina Hanhivaara, Doctoral Candidate in Clinical Psychology at Sofia University in Palo Alto; Mervi Pänkäläinen, Founder and CEO of Mightifier, Mightifier

 Institute of European Studies, Nordic Studies Program

The OECD published the latest PISA results in December 2019 on students’ academic performance and well-being. Only two-thirds of students were satisfied with their lives, a share that shrank by five points from 2015 to 2018. Almost a quarter of students reported being bullied at least a few times a month and 6% reported always feeling sad.

Only Finland received high scores on both reading proficiency and well-being. The country implemented a new national curriculum in 2016. One focus area was school culture, developed with the students’ well-being and safety as the driving force.

This presentation will introduce the online strengths-based program Mightifier, developed to enhance students’ social-emotional skills and hence build their well-being. The program was co-created together with Finnish schools, teachers, and students in 2016 based on theories of character strengths,the growth mindset and self-determination. During the presentation, recent impact results will be introduced.

Inka-Kristiina Hanhivaara is from Rovaniemi, Finland and lives in California, where she is a Doctoral Candidate in Clinical Psychology at Sofia University in Palo Alto, formerly the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (ITP). She also holds a master’s degree in Hotel Management from the Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK. She has worked extensively in business management across different countries and is proficient with culturally diverse populations. She has previously worked within forensic psychology at Psychological Assessment, Inc. in Oakland, CA and is currently Pre-Doctoral Intern at the Community Institute for Psychotherapy in San Rafael, CA where she is providing treatment to a clientele consisting variety of diagnoses such as mood disorders, personality disorders, schizophrenia, and other psychotic disorders, trauma and suicidality.

Mervi Pänkäläinen, Founder and CEO of Mightifier
M.Sc. in Economics and Business Administration from Aalto University Business School, Helsinki, Finland. Before founding her company Mightifier, Mervi has worked as a change leader and consultant focusing on designing encouraging and psychologically safe working cultures.
She has facilitated hundreds of workshops and given keynotes and presentations on creativity and culture design process. Her mission has always been how to make people feel good about themselves, be proud of their team and how to turn those soft skills into measurable hard skills that can be led.

Mervi has represented her home country Finland in the Global Finals of the Creative Business Cup in 2017 and in the European Union’s Ideas of Europe Competition in 2018, where Mightifier was selected as one of the best ideas from EU.