Marko Risto Peltonen
Dean of Social Sciences, Uralikan Yliopisto
| Assumed office|
1 April 2008
Chair of the Department of Psychology, Uralikan Yliopisto
| Assumed office|
1 April 2008
|Born|| 29 July 1961|
|Children||Sami and Minna Peltonen|
|Alma mater||University of Helsinki|
|Religion||Uralican Evangelical Baptist Christian|
Dr. Marko Risto Peltonen (b. 29 July 1961, Kirkkonummi, Finland) is a Uralican scholar. He is also a staunch Uralicist, but unlike many such people, he has never run for office in the Uralican Tribal Council, instead focussing on his teaching and research.
Born in southern Finland to a criminal psychologist father and a school teacher of a mother, Marko had a fairly nondescript childhood save for his precocity with regards to schoolwork. He was considered a child prodigy, and as such his teachers made sure he was kept at an appropriate level of education - by the age most kids were starting upper high school, he was finishing it with no mark falling below 9½ on the Finnish grading scale.
In spite of superior intellect, though, he remained surprisingly grounded, realising that he too had things he struggled with, which were primarily social in nature. Still, he was well-spoken, and made surprisingly good friendships with those who were older than himself.
He was accepted to the University of Helsinki almost immediately after graduation, and he joyfully flung himself at everything that piqued his interest in high school - although he eventually did an Honours BSc in Psychology, he also loved linguistics, sociology, and religious studies. He would go to school year-round just so he could have his fill of all these fascinations of his, and as such, he again graduated early. He had a Bachelor's Degree before his 19th birthday.
So impressed was the academic community by this prodigy that schools were tripping over themselves to get him into their psychology or cognitive sciences programs. He actually did two Master's Degrees in the end - one at the University of Edinburgh (MSc in Psychology) and one at Oxford University (MPhil in Linguistics with a heavy slant towards Phonetics and Phonology). By 1985, he had no need of work as he had acquired so many grants that he could pay for schooling for another decade.
Returning home to Finland, he taught both psychology and linguistics at the undergraduate level as if he had attained a full PhD, at the University of Helsinki, and his teaching won him accolades from both Finland and European organisations. His quirky sense of humour and striking looks also made him a favourite amongst the school's female population - he recalled in one interview how over the course of one particular semester (the spring session of 1987), he was actually asked out by eight different women. While some young men were jealous of the female attention, they liked his teaching style too much to hold it against him.
One of those eight women turned out to be his future wife, Kaari Valkki. She was a senior-level linguistics student by the time this semester rolled around, and she had a phonology class with him. What made her different from the rest for him was her higher enthusiasm for the subject matter - according to him, the other seven women were also physically attractive "in their way," did at least decently in class, and were more or less around his age.
So they got to talking. He brought psychology into the conversation, and she was legitimately fascinated by it. They were officially an item by the end of the summer of 1987, and they would marry in early 1988, just as he decided to accept an offer from MIT to do a PhD in Psychology there. The extra grant money would come in very handy, as their first child, Sami, was born in Boston in November 1988.
They remained in the United States until 1991, the year Marko finished his PhD in Psychology at the top of his class, and just shy of 30 years of age. Kaari, in the meantime, did an MA in Linguistics there as well, graduating at the same convocation.
The couple returned to Finland with their 2-year-old son (he would turn 3 that November), and would once again end up back at the University of Helsinki - Marko was brought on as a psychology professor immediately, and Kaari was able to stay at home with her young son. The following year, their daughter Minna was born. After just three school years of being a sessional instructor, Marko was tenured.
Once Minna began full-time schooling (when she was 7, as was normal in Old Finland), Kaari was able to go back to schooling, doing a PhD in Linguistics, a degree she completed in 2002, with a little help from a graduate psycholinguistics class she took from her own husband. As for Marko, he won several teaching awards from both within the department and the university on the whole.
The onset of the Cataclysm turned the Peltonen family's life upside down, though - they would end up fleeing Helsinki, first to Oulu, then to the small town of Inari, where many of the people spoke a language neither could understand, Inari Saami. However, being the linguist, Kaari set about trying to learn the language.
As the Robertian Era dawned and U of H was rebuilt, Marko was called back to work there, and they would soon hire Kaari as well. But this would prove short-lived for political reasons. Kaari had heard of persecution of Saami in Russia in early 2007 and adamantly spoke out against it, but was fired from her job after a faction within ICP threatened to destroy the university for "attempting to incite counter-revolutionary actions". Disgusted, Marko resigned along with Matti Koppinen, the entire Theology department, and eight other professors.
Then Great War III happened, and the Uralic Purges began. In spite of his idealistic aspirations, he didn't want to jeopardise his family, so he moved them all to Thunder Bay, which still maintained a large and vibrant Finnish community. Now 19, Sami Peltonen had finished high school and had been drafted to fight for the New Polar Order, so he did not join but instead fought, although he was able to keep in touch with his family - their correspondences would become public much later.
After finding out about the full extent of the Purges, though, Marko could not sit back any longer. He decided to contact other people from Helsinki who had resigned over his wife's firing, and it turned out that, by the end of May of 2007, Matti had joined a "Uralicist Movement" and was living in Syktyvkar, also in NpO territory.
After a long family talk, both wife and 15-year-old daughter assented to move yet again, to Syktyvkar. But the flight was long and had many stopovers, since they wanted to avoid the heart of extremist Russia at all costs. The order of airports they stopped in was this: Edmonton, Anchorage, Magadan, Yakutsk, Ulan-Ude, Bratsk, Novy Urengoy, Syktyvkar. They ended up staying in Yakutsk for a month because of the Green Civil War having spilled over into parts of the now-fragmented Old Russia, and they avoided very large cities like Novosibirsk because of the presence of cells of extremists (which were eventually flushed out by the Siberian Tiger Alliance).
The people of Syktyvkar were generally friendly to the Peltonens after they arrived. When they finally met Matti, it was at church on Sunday. Matti's first words to Marko and Kaari expressed pleasant surprise at their attendance, as neither were practicing Christians at the time. Upon being asked about the movement, he decided to introduce some members who were also at the church, among them Vaido Kuik. They began attending Movement meetings, and at the same time, began attending church regularly, at first every other week, then every week. It still took them time to learn Russian, though.
By the time Sami finally figured that they were in Syktyvkar, they were scheduled to be baptised. The baptism proved a joyful family reunion as well. Only weeks later, though, were the Syktyvkar Riots, which none of the Peltonens planned on being involved in, but Sami was hospitalised after having a small vodka bottle thrown at him as he was trying to run across the street. But the only injuries he actually had were from bits of glass being stuck in his central back. He counted himself lucky that the glass did not pierce into his spinal column.
After the Three-Day Revolution and reports that a Uralic state was about to be founded, Marko and Kaari both committed themselves to the nation, and also to helping out with any educational endeavours. Uralica was founded, and eventually, Uralikan Yliopisto followed suit. Dr. Ovdey Shlomov decided to make Marko the Dean of Cognitive Sciences because of his mixed background in both psychology and linguistics (as opposed to Vlasi Malenkov who was strictly a psychologist with some experience with political science).
Marko still lives in Syktyvkar with Kaari. Sami, now 22, now lives in Viipuri, and after graduating from the Military College of Uralica in 2009, is working on-site at a nearby military base. Minna recently completed her high school and has been accepted to Uralikan Yliopisto, where she intends to study Finnish Language and Literature.
- Marko speaks seven languages fluently - Finnish, English, Swedish, Russian, Komi, Karelian, and Plautdietsch (he learned the latter three as a Uralican citizen). He also knows bits and pieces of two dozen other languages, with Inari Saami, Komi-Permyak, Hungarian, and Yakut being the languages he knows the most of without being a perfectly fluent speaker.
- He was never much of a sports player when he was younger, but he did like to watch hockey, which he continues to this day. His favourite team is HK Jokerit.
- He is a large fan of linguistics books, and has a particular affinity for writers like Martin Haspelmath, Leslie Saxon, Noam Chomsky, and his contemporary, Dr. Risto Tikkanen, who is chair of the Department of Linguistics at UY. In terms of fiction and mythology, he likes the novels and novelle of Lasse Mäkelä, the epic Kalevala and Kalevipoeg, and the folk-tales of the Komi people.
- He is a huge Bane of the Machine fan by his own admission. He also listens to a lot of industrial and industrial metal, such as Enemy's Enemy, Blacklight Theory, Digitoxicosis, Karl Miller, and even Pelastus.
- He is a notoriously upbeat and borderline zany professor who can do impressions of numerous cartoon characters, past and present.
- Like Jarkko Salomäki and Martin Kosk, he has mild Asperger Syndrome.