Top Contributor: Dr. Jae H. Kim

A mentor to young engineers

By Vivian Nguyen
Northwest Asian Weekly

Dr. Jae H. Kim

Educational pursuits run deep in Dr. Jae Hoon Kim’s blood.

Originally from Seoul, Dr. Kim moved to the United States in 1981 to pursue his Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering at the University of Florida.

After obtaining his doctorate, Dr. Kim moved to California, where he spent several years working for the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. His time with NASA included technical staff and project manager roles, in which he developed low-power, two-dimensional optoelectronic neuron arrays for optical computing.

In 1991, a new position with Boeing lured Dr. Kim to Seattle. He started as a principal engineer, and eventually took on a range of different engineering positions within the company over the following two decades. He cultivated an illustrious career filled with countless accomplishments, such as publishing 90 academic papers, being granted four U.S. patents (with one pending), and winning countless technical awards.

Presently, Dr. Kim currently serves as an executive/senior technical fellow for Boeing, which requires him to support the aviation giant in providing integrated system solutions and products to meet Boeing’s commercial and militia needs in the communication and networking fields. He also works directly with business units within the company to develop long-term business strategies for communication and networking technologies, products, and services.

Despite working in the corporate world, Dr. Kim has not forgotten his academic roots. For more than 10 years, he has been part of the graduate faculty for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Washington (UW), where he is an affiliate professor. He relishes the opportunity to return to the classroom and merge his academic life with his professional one.

“I enjoy interacting with young students and helping them prepare for advanced study,” he said.

Dr. Kim’s desire to support educational efforts and young students did not end at the UW. For many years, he was a supporter of the Korean American Education Cultural Foundation (KAECF), a Seattle nonprofit that provides classes in Korean language and culture to second-generation Korean Americans and anyone interested in the culture and language.

Impressed by the array of services KAECF offered students, as well as the organization’s dedicated volunteers, Dr. Kim decided that he wanted to be part of that energy and started volunteering his own services at the foundation. In 2010, he became a board member, and was recently appointed board chair. After just two months, he says he is “impressed by the enthusiastic contributions from fellow board members, as well as educators,” when it comes to helping students achieve educational goals and interests.

Although Dr. Kim has already accomplished many professional feats, the pursuit of knowledge and working with youth will continue to drive his future goals.

“I want to continue mentoring young engineers and researchers,” he said, when reflecting on what he hopes to accomplish in the coming years. He also plans to transfer his expertise, knowledge, and leadership to young students by publishing articles in academic journals, as well as writing books.

And, despite living and working in a field predominantly filled with technology and engineering, Dr. Kim also has other goals he would like to accomplish one day.

He confessed that he would like to learn how to play golf or even the drums, extracurricular activities that Dr. Kim admits he “had no time to learn” amidst his numerous professional and civic commitments. Still, he hopes to make time to pursue these activities in the future, along with setting some time aside to travel the world. (end)

Dr. Jae Hoon Kim will be honored at the Top Contributors award dinner on Dec. 6 at the House of Hong Restaurant in Seattle, from 6–9 p.m.

Vivian Nguyen can be reached at info@nwasianweekly.com.

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