Name: Jonathan “Jonny” Kim (a.k.a NASA’s first Korean-American astronaut, the man every Asian parent compares you to, and the perfect son-in-law)
Scale of Notoriety:
3/5 – He’s not too known to the general public, though acceptance into NASA and assignment into the Artemis program in 2020 has not gone unnoticed. Considering his list of accomplishments and down-to-earth personality, his place in the spotlight is more than well deserved.
Scale of Influence:
4/5 – Kim’s dream has always been to help people. In addition to the numerous lives he saved during the Iraq War, he’ll soon be the first Korean-American to go into space, inspiring the next generation of Asian-American astronauts to come. Who knows, maybe we’ll get to see an all-Asian NASA team in the future?
Birthdate: February 5, 1984
Status: Over achieving in Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
Background: While Jonny Kim spent most of his childhood under the radar, his life turned around when he joined the US Navy at sixteen (later officially enlisting straight after graduating high school in 2002), citing it to be the best decision he ever made. Through his time as a Navy SEAL, Jonny transformed from a scared kid with no dreams into someone who believed in himself, going on to complete 100 operations over the course of two deployments, earning several medals for his heroism and combat skills as well as his commission in 2009.
In 2012, Jonny Kim graduated from the University of San Diego with his Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, but the helplessness that lingered from memories of his fallen comrades pushed him to enroll in Harvard Medical School the same year to become a doctor. While studying at Harvard Medical School (which he graduated in 2016), Jonny Kim met and was inspired by Scott E. Parazynski (an astronaut–physician) to apply for Astronaut Candidacy at NASA, of which he was eventually accepted into in 2017, being one of twelve candidates chosen from a pool of over 18,300 applicants.
Jonny Kim reported for duty as the first Korean-American astronaut on 21 August 2017 and graduated from his training on 10 January 2020. On 9 December 2020, NASA formally announced that he would join 17 other astronauts in training for a 2024 Moon landing.
Genetic Make-up: Jonny Kim was born in the U.S to Korean immigrants. Raised in sunny Los Angles, he enjoys the outdoors and lives an active lifestyle, but his intelligence is also something else – just take a look at his academic record! Stellar high school report, an HD maths degree, a medical degree from HARVARD, and official NASA bio. Truly, with both his brain and body in peak condition, he ticks off every Asian parents’ requirements for the perfect son.
● Decorated CV: The world is this man’s oyster. Still under his 40s and he’s already a Navy SEAL, doctor, andastronaut. Now we’re on the edge of our seats wondering what he’s about to do next!
● Ambition: Jonny Kim wouldn’t be where is right now without his drive to chase after his dreams. Despite his timidness and typical Asian upbringing, he was a bit rebellious when it came to joining the Navy before going to university, which at the time was against his mother’s wishes. Turns out it worked for the better, as it ultimately led him to where he is today.
● Good Character: Above all else, Jonny Kim is humble, hardworking, and grateful for the opportunities he’s been presented within his life, encouraging others, especially immigrant kids like him, to also never give up and chase after their dreams.
● Off-the-Market: Unfortunately for all the aspiring would-be suitors and parents-in-law out there, the man’s already married with three kids. It’s a travesty, we know, but there’s still admiring him from afar, right?
Special Talents: Jonny Kim is a man of many skills. In addition to becoming fluent in Russian and knowing how to spacewalk as a part of his astronaut training, during his time as a Navy SEAL Jonny Kim also operated as Special Operations Combat Medic, sniper, navigator, and point man. Overall, he has been awarded the Silver Star (the third-highest military combat decoration in the US Armed Forces), Bronze Star Medal (with Combat "V"), the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with Combat "V"), and Combat Action Ribbon for his service.
Nadya Labiba is an Indonesian-Australian currently in her fourth year of Journalism and Languages and Cultures at University of Technology Sydney. Aside from interning at Captain Bagrat, Nadya is an avid community volunteer and a published contributor at Central News.