Soyeon Yi


Dr. Soyeon Yi is South Korea’s first and only astronaut. She was selected as an astronaut in  December, 2006, out of 36,000 contestants vying for the title of South Korea’s First Astronaut. On April 8, 2008, she launched into space on-board Soyuz TMA-12. During her 11-day mission at the International Space Station (ISS), Dr. Yi completed aggressive number of experiments contributing to South Korea’s science  text books and science channel television lectures. During her historical return to earth on April 19, 2008, she survived a force of nearly 16-G  (versus 4-G average) upon the ballistic re-entry. Due to re-entry  complications, the first to welcome her return to earth were nomads in the  plains of Kazakhstan.  

Dr. Yi received her Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, Master  of Science in Mechanical Engineering and her Ph.D. from KAIST (Korea  Advanced Institute of Science and Technology). Her Ph.D. thesis is “DNA  Separation Chips Using Temporal Asymmetric Ratchet Effect in NonUniform  E-Fields”. In May, 2014, Dr. Yi received her MBA with emphasis on  Technology and Global Leadership at the Haas School of Business,  University of California, Berkeley.  

Currently, Dr. Yi is working with Studio XID developing digital prototyting  softwares as the head of global customer engagement, and with Silicon  Valley based satellite startup, Loft Orbital Solutions Inc. as the strategic  business development & international partnerships. Dr. Yi is passionate  about nurturing the next generation of leaders in STEM; she is not only  volunteering for various non-profits as an inspiring speaker but also  lecturing at University of Washington and local community colleges. When  she is not busy with her global speaking engagements, she enjoys singing,  playing the piano, gardening, crafts and hiking.