Soyeon Yi, South Korea’s First Astronaut, to address Seattle graduates

Graduating Northeastern University–Seattle students are in for a double dose of first-hand insight from the final frontier of exploration.

Soyeon Yi @MsCoolAstroSoyeon Yi, a biotechnologist and astronaut who became the first Korean to fly in space, will address graduates at the Seattle campus’ Graduation Recognition Ceremony on June 4, 2016.

While pursuing her Ph.D, Yi applied to the Korean Astronaut Program and was selected as the final two of 36,000 candidates. She trained in Russian as a researcher and backup crewmember learning the ins and outs of Korea’s experiements for the International Space Station. One month before launch, she was made a primary crewmember.

“Everybody asks me if I felt scared. But I didn’t have any time or space in my brain to think about fear.” – Soyeon Yi, Get That Life: How I Became Korea’s First Woman Astronaut, Cosmopolitan, January 2016

Yi spent 12 days in space, launching April 8, 2008 on board Soyuz TMA-12. After her flight, she continued her work as a senior researcher at the Korean Astronaut Project Division, KARI, as well as acting as Korea’s space ambassador. Recently, Yi received her MBA at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley with an emphasis on technology and global leadership in May 2014.

In addition to Yi’s address in Seattle, Charles Elachi, director of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and vice president of the California Institute of Technology, will deliver Northeastern University’s 2016 Commencement address for the afternoon graduate ceremony on Friday, May 6, 2016, at Matthews Arena in Boston.

“Charles Elachi is an accomplished leader and innovator who has made a real difference in the field of space exploration. We are honored that he will join us at Commencement to celebrate our graduate students’ accomplishments and help them launch their own personal and professional journeys,” said Northeastern President Joseph Aoun. Read more at News @ Northeastern.

Students with questions about the June Graduation Recognition Ceremony in Seattle or May Commencement in Boston should email Gina Takasugi, associate director of student services at

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