Rep. Grace Meng on Monday, Oct. 17, brought NASA Astronaut Dr. Jonny Kim to Queens where he met and spoke with students at Francis Lewis High School in Fresh Meadows and the Queens College School for Math, Science and Technology in Flushing. Meng and Kim also hosted a luncheon with local Korean American leaders in Flushing.
After Meng introduced him to the students, Kim talked about becoming an astronaut, space exploration, overcoming challenges and his remarkable life and career. Presently, he is the only active NASA astronaut of Korean descent.
During the visit, Kim, dressed in his NASA flight suit, used a slide presentation to illustrate his life and background, and took questions from students on everything from being a Navy SEAL to space travel. He also took photos with the students.
“It was a pleasure to visit the schools and speak to the children,” Kim said. “Children are the future and it’s important that we plant the right seeds so they can grow to become the leaders, scientists and scholars we need. The most important message I shared with them is that the only ceiling we can’t break through is the one we put on ourselves.”
A child of South Korean immigrants, Kim became an astronaut after serving as a U.S. Navy SEAL, receiving the Silver Star and Bronze Star, and earning a medical degree from Harvard Medical School. His NASA assignments have included support to the International Space Station Operations as a Capsule Communicator (CapCom) in Mission Control and an Increment Lead for Expedition 65. Kim also provides support to NASA’s upcoming Artemis mission, which will land the first woman and first person of color on the moon and establish long-term lunar science and exploration capabilities.
Meng thanked Kim for coming to Queens and sharing his outstanding experiences with local students who will be the next generation of leaders, some of whom may be future astronauts, doctors, scientists and experts in other crucial fields.
“His life and career has been an inspiration to young people, and his visit served as a wonderful influence to Queens students,” Meng said. “Thank you to Francis Lewis High School and the Queens College School for Math, Science and Technology for having us, and thank you to leaders from our borough’s Korean American community for meeting with us. I also commend all the students for the great questions they asked during his presentation.”