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Alumni of the year 2020: Helena Hed and Meleknur Alevcan

Published: 28 October 2020

Meleknur Alevcan has helped hundreds of elderly people with free therapy during the corona pandemic. Helena Hed has had a long and successful career at Sweco, and will soon be the new President and CEO of listed PE Teknik & Arkitektur.

Alumni of the Year is an award to recognize the achievements of former students at Luleå University of Technology. This year's winners are Meleknur Alevcan, with a degree from the bachelor programme in psychology, and Helena Hed, who has a master of engineering in built environment.
– For me, this is very honoring. It feels fantastic and I really want to share the award with all my colleagues at Sweco, says Helena Hed.
– I am surprised and proud and feel honored, says Meleknur Alevcan.

International career from Boden 

Meleknur Alevcan, born in 1989 and raised outside Istanbul in Turkey, has a university degree in Russian and literature from her home country, where she worked as an interpreter and translator. In 2013, she received a scholarship to study in Sweden. After only a year of studying Swedish, she applied and entered the Luleå University of Technology's bachelor's programme in psychology. It was an active choice to head far north, says Meleknur.

– I saw it as an adventure to have the opportunity to experience snow, winter sports and the northern lights. Since I do not have Swedish as a mother tongue, the first year of the education was challenging, but my teachers and classmates were fantastically supportive.

After graduating, she first worked in community psychiatry in Luleå but now runs her own business as a consultant and CBT therapist in her new hometown Boden, with both companies and private individuals as clients. She offers online therapy and has clients in Sweden, Russia, Turkey and the USA, among others.

When the corona pandemic struck, Meleknur pondered how she could help elderly people who felt isolated and anxious.
– I thought I could offer them free online therapy, and now have had contact with over 100 elderly people. Many have been depressed, anxious and lonely. Then CBT can be a good method, says Meleknur, adding:
– I have received a fantastic response from the elderly and also from their relatives. They are very grateful and it makes me happy and motivated in my job.

Will take over as CEO at the turn of the year

Helena Hed, from Boden, born in 1975, graduated in 2001. She has had a long and successful career at Sweco and has held a number of different positions, including as group manager, regional manager for water and environmental operations in northern Sweden, responsible for the railway operations in Stockholm/East and most recently as CEO of Sweco's project management operations.

At the turn of the year, a new role awaits, when she becomes President and CEO of the listed consulting company PE Teknik & Arkitektur, with over 1000 employees around Sweden.

– It is with great pride that I will start the new assignment, she says.

Helena Hed has fond memories from her years as a student. She got to know two of her closest friends at Luleå University of Technology, she studied abroad – at Glasgow University in Scotland – and had an educational internship and thesis period at SSAB.

– My education as a civil engineer has opened up many opportunities for me. I had fantastic years at the University. It is a good University – I have proudly employed many from Luleå University of Technology.

Motivations – Alumni of the Year 2020:

"After graduating from Luleå University of Technology, Helena Hed has had a very successful career. She has over 15 years of experience in various managerial roles within the Sweco Group, most recently as President of Sweco Management. Early next year a new role awaits, when she becomes President and CEO of the listed consulting company PE Teknik & Arkitektur, with over 1000 employees around Sweden.
Helena has committed herself to her old university as a lecturer and inspiring role model. She is a very worthy representative of alumni at Luleå University of Technology."

Meleknur Alevcan has after graduating from Luleå University of Technology worked as a CBT therapist and consultant running her own company. She has previously studied in Turkey and the US and has, through her broad experience, created a global job market and offers, among other things online therapy in several countries.
During the corona pandemic, she has been a support for a large number of elderly people who, through her care, have gained access to free therapy in a trying time.
Meleknur has a great commitment to society and is a very worthy representative of alumni at Luleå University of Technology. "