Meet Jonghyuk Kim

Several factors made me decide to become an engineer. During junior high school, I enjoyed my math and science classes more than history or English. I was also given the chance to take woodworking, metalworking, and software engineering courses, which turned out to be my favorite classes.

My dad was my real inspiration, though, and the first person to expose me to the field of engineering. When I was growing up, he worked for the U.S. military base in Korea, and I would always see him working with engineering software, like AutoCAD. Often, we would build stuff together, and he would show me how to assemble things, step by step. The memory of those times with my dad are a continual source of motivation for me.

In high school, I did not have many goals in life. The only colleges that I applied to were UW and SPU. Even then, I only submitted my application to SPU because I was invited to apply. I’m glad I did, though, because I wasn’t accepted to UW, and SPU was the better choice.

In 2013, I joined the National Guard before graduating high school, which meant I had to defer my enrollment at SPU by one year. I was surprised at how helpful SPU was. I didn’t have to take any additional steps when I started the following year. In this way, I could feel SPU’s passion and interest in its students — even before I enrolled.

When I found about my deployment in 2015, I was very worried that I would fall behind with my schoolwork. It was a tough time because I had to go another country to serve my country, and sometimes I wished I didn’t have to go. But as I prepared to leave SPU for a year, I received help from left and right; from faculty, from fellow students — and especially from my advisor, Dr. Plett.

Ultimately, SPU helped me embrace and overcome a difficult life challenge by helping me to continue my studies overseas during my deployment, so I didn't fall behind with my schoolwork. When I returned to the U.S., the transition back to SPU was very smooth. I wasn’t behind, and, the experience I gained and the lessons I learned made me more mature and successful in my courses.

I really love SPU and the Engineering program. All the professors are very approachable and helpful. Yet, of all the good aspects of SPU, the class environment is the best. I love the small classes, which help me learn in a more personal environment.

The highlights of my time in the Engineering department are centered around the friendships I’ve made. At SPU, students in similar fields take many courses together, so we get to build friendships through teamwork. This often makes the courses even more interesting and easier to handle.

My parents suggest that I apply for government jobs after graduation because they believe public service is a more stable career than working for commercial companies. No matter what, after graduation, I want to challenge myself as I compete with fellow engineers and learn and grow from the experience.