AFRL researcher awarded by Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers

  • Published
  • By Holly Jordan

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – Air Force Research Laboratory scientist Dr. Steve Kim was recently honored with the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers Professional Achievement Award ​for his innovative research and persistent drive to tackle challenging and evolving subject matter.

Kim is a scientist in the Performance Optimization Branch of the 711th Human Performance Wing’s Airman Systems Directorate. Here, he leads a team of 12 to conduct cutting-edge research of critical importance to the Air Force mission. His current work focuses on the development of an autonomous volatile organic compound sensor discovery tool based on biomolecules and nano devices. This research enables a better understanding of pilot air quality concerns, an Air Force top-priority issue. Additionally, he leads a project for a microbial sensor, a critical sustainment technology for national defense. His pioneering biosensor research has helped enable miniaturization and wearable electronic sensors that react to molecular-biomarkers.

“I am truly grateful to be receiving this award,” said Kim. “I am even more grateful to all my mentors, peers, and sensors lab members at AFRL for their professional excellence. They were the key reagents for my recognition.”

A doctoral graduate of the University of Connecticut in polymer science, Kim joined AFRL as a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow, first as a contract scientist and later as a civilian researcher. Throughout his over 13 years in AFRL, he has demonstrated a tireless devotion to the study and mastery of difficult subject areas, producing significant breakthroughs and making novel findings of great importance to the military and scientific community. His research has been published in over 50 peer-reviewed scientific journals, with works recognized as “Top 20 most read article on the web in a year” and “Top 20 most read article on the web in a month” in a widely-regarded publication.

As a mentor to emerging scientists and engineers, Kim instills in them the same drive to immerse themselves in difficult and non-traditional fields of study. He is active in numerous programs, including Goodwill Ambassadors, Wright Scholars, AFRL Summer Faculty Program, and Repperger internships. He has also served as a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship reviewer and a DoD Center for Education Excellence/Research Science Institute Alumni Internship Program mentor. As an adjunct professor, he established a new course at the University of Dayton focused on teaching bioscience to engineering students.

The SASE was established to help scientific and engineering professionals of Asian heritage connect, support one another, and better achieve their full potential. The organization awards the Professional Achievement Award to a highly experienced, mid-career professional who has made significant discoveries, made important advances in his or her chosen career path, and is acknowledged as a leader of large initiatives. Kim will be officially recognized at the SASE National Conference in the fall of 2020.