Carolyn B Norris

Author's editor, teacher
University of Helsinki Language Services


I am an American now also a Finn–Washington-DC-born, Florida-raised, eventually a far-northern Californian. But my  career in university teaching really expanded after 1985 in Helsinki, where I also began medical author-editing. And then turned 50.

In youth, after a Duke University bachelor’s degree in pre-med (biology/chemistry), I qualified for Duke Medical School,. Having no funds, I instead worked in research laboratories there and at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, before continuing study to teach my second love, writing. An MA in rhetoric and then a University of Maryland PhD followed, with a thesis on the image of the physician in modern literature. In  US universities and colleges, I taught writing for seven years, then spent our California years doing PR writing and organizational development concerning  ostomy surgery. I also illustrated and published sign-language books and novels based on my years of teaching at Gallaudet University for the deaf.

Following my botanist husband to Helsinki four times to enable his herbarium work, meant we both fell in love with Finland. We ran the Helsinki City Marathon, skied, and took up biking, but he chose to return to the USA. I demurred. Having no children or siblings made it less difficult for me to hold onto the job of my dreams. I had initiated the first University of Helsinki English writing course for research scientists, and also earned an applied linguistics MA at Birmingham University.

My writing course has continued without a break for 34 years, and I also taught numerous undergraduate oral English courses and started a medical faculty course in conference presentation.  My writing-style booklet grew to 85 A4 pages. Annually revised, it is on google as my bequest to the world, thanks to the University Language Services which organizes both author-editing and courses. This spring, the latter continued remotely.

In 2004, I married a Finnish physicist from a 1995 course.  With Finnish dancing and interesting changes of seasons, I feel no regrets, and retirement from teaching and editing holds no attractions.