Hyun Dong “Sebastian” Kim ’10 applies engineering to climate crisis

The South Korean former boarding student says Farragut was his foundation for success

The tiny Pacific island nation of Tuvalu is a country in crisis, beset by rising seas and disappearing shores. Farragut alum Hyun Dong “Sebastian” Kim is trying to help.

Hyun Dong “Sebastian” Kim, the Class of 2010 salutatorian, is developing a master plan and feasibility study to protect the Pacific island country of Tuvalu from the ongoing effects of global warming.

His work as a Senior Research Engineer with the Mirae Ocean Corp. combines his interest in coastal hydrodynamics, dune erosion, natural hazard control strategy, and nearshore environment. The work also links directly back to Admiral Farragut Academy, renowned for an emphasis on marine science and engineering — and for developing leaders.

“Without the good foundation built at Farragut,” Kim said, “it would have been difficult to become who I am now.”

At Farragut, he was a company commander, team leader of the Exhibition Drill Team, and founder of the Engineering Society.

His post-Farragut journey took him to the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for an undergraduate degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. At UCLA, he made his mark by directing the American Society for Civil Engineers UCLA Chapter Environmental team, serving as president of the Korean Student Council, and chairing the Global Leaders Association (GLA).

From there, it was on to the University of Delaware for a master’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering and then to required military service for South Korea. He’s assigned to the Mirae Ocean Corp. as part of his military service. For his work on Tuvalu, he said he received a Grand Award from the Korean government.

Meanwhile, Kim also is finishing a Civil Engineering doctoral degree from Osaka University in Japan.

And there’s more: He said he has four patents, has written seven academic journal papers, and represents South Korea to the PIANC (the World Association for Waterborne Transport Infrastructure), an organization that regularly advises the United Nations.

Eventually, he wants to be a professor as well as start his own business.

“I am not afraid of any new challenges,” Kim said. “This confidence is what Farragut taught me.”