Soyeon Yi

Soyeon Yi the day of launch on April 8, 2008, on the Soyuz TMA-12 to the International Space Station.

Start the countdown — an astronaut will land in Stanwood later this month.

South Korea’s only astronaut, Dr. Soyeon Yi, will share her inspirational story of space travel during a free event Saturday, Nov. 23 at Stanwood High’s Performing Arts Center.

The event, presented by the Community Resource Center of Stanwood Camano, aims to draw awareness to STEM education — particularly to encourage girls and women to pursue aerospace and engineering careers.

Tickets are required for the event and are available at Community Resource Center of Stanwood Camano, Stanwood Library, Camano Island Library, Arlington Library and Lakewood/Smokey Point Library. Tickets have also been distributed to local schools for teachers to award to select students.

Yi, who holds several science-related degrees, was selected out of 36,000 contestants to become South Korea’s first and only astronaut. In 2008, she accomplished an 11-day mission on the International Space Station.

In her presentation, titled “To the Moon and Back,” Yi will discuss the challenges she faced in space and provide an overview of the rigorous experiments she completed during her mission.

“I have collaborated with some amazing women who work in STEM-related fields over the years,” said Christine Russell, the Resource Center’s events coordinator. “I am passionate about getting more females interested in pursuing careers in science.”

Only about 10% of astronauts are women and, overall, men outnumber women in most STEM-related fields, according to NASA. Jobs, such as those in engineering and computer technology, often pay more than jobs outside of STEM-related fields.

Encouraging more women to enter these fields can be a significant factor in reducing the gender pay gap, according to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

“I really wanted to produce an event for the Stanwood Camano area that would bring pride, unity, awareness and inspiration to this community rich with such amazing artists, resources, and young people,” she said. “If just one person could be vastly inspired by Dr. Soyeon Yi’s message, then all of this implementation and organization is worth it.”

IF YOU GO

  • What: “To the Moon and Beyond” with Dr. Soyeon Yi
  • When: Saturday, Nov. 23, 4 p.m. Doors open at 3 p.m. Admission by ticket only. Seating is first come, first served.
  • Where: Stanwood High School Performing Arts Center, 7400 272nd St. NW, Stanwood 
  • Free Tickets available at:Community Resource Center of Stanwood Camano; Stanwood Library; Camano Island Library; Arlington Library; Lakewood/Smokey Point Library
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