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Whitworth to Host First Korean American NASA Astronaut Jonny Kim

January 29, 2021


Whitworth’s Speakers & Artists Series is pleased to welcome Jonny Kim, NASA’s first Korean American astronaut, on Feb. 23, 2021, at 6:30 p.m. for an intriguing virtual conversation with Associate Professor of Psychology Mark Baird titled “Never Give Up! How Resilience Can Help You Find and Focus on Your Calling at Any Stage of Life.” 

Kim will recount the ways in which he “accidentally” became a U.S. Navy SEAL medic, Harvard-trained physician and NASA astronaut and will share his journey from being the son of Korean immigrants in Los Angeles to becoming the United States’ first Korean American astronaut.

Kim’s life is full of examples that show how resilience and focus can help you through changes in your career and calling. Just after high school in 2002, Kim enlisted in the Navy as a seaman recruit. He went on to serve as a special operations combat medic, sniper, navigator and point man on more than 100 combat operations in the Middle East. He is the recipient of the Silver and Bronze Star medals.

Upon graduation from Harvard Medical School in 2016, Kim began his medical internship. At the time of his astronaut selection in 2017, Kim was a resident physician in emergency medicine.

Kim reported for duty at NASA in August 2017 and, having completed the initial astronaut candidate training, is now eligible for a mission assignment. He remains on active duty as a Navy lieutenant at NASA and has been assigned technical duties in the NASA Astronaut Office while he awaits flight assignment.

Kim’s conversation will illuminate the importance of tenacity and grit in discovering and achieving calling and vocation no matter when or how often life plans change. Whitworth is pleased to be able to extend this invitation to area elementary, middle school and high school students.

Registration for this event, via Zoom, closes at noon PST on Feb. 23. Please click here to register.

For more information about Kim, please visit:

About Whitworth University:

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university has an enrollment of more than 3,000 students and offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Trisha Coder, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (530) 566-6338 or