Teens and young adults with island roots step up for challenges

Countless island teens leave the island to pursue their passions, but recently three young people with Vashon ties have furthered their accomplishments athletically and academically.

Countless island teens leave the island to pursue their passions, but recently three young people with Vashon ties have furthered their accomplishments athletically and academically.

Abi Kim

Islander Abi Kim, known to many local athletes for her track and soccer skills, recently added another accolade to her resume: She was invited to participate in the U18 Women’s National Team soccer camp at the Olympic Training Center in San Diego, California.

All of the players in this camp were born in 1998 and are eligible for the team that will attempt to qualify for the 2016 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup, but the goal for Kim and her cohorts is the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup — and beyond. Kim, a senior at Seattle Christian, is the daughter of Jin and Su Kim.

“It was a really good opportunity,” she said last week. “I was really happy to get to train with such qualified people.”

Kim is a forward on the Pacific NW Soccer Club, one of the top clubs in the area, according to Jin Kim. Her team was playing in a prominent West Coast tournament in July, and the Women’s National Team coaches watched her play there — and then extended an invitation to participate in the Oct. 18 to 25 training week. Kim called the camp “really fun and really hard at the same time” with two practices a day. Scrimmaging was her favorite element of the camp, she said, noting that the level of play was higher than that of her club team, but not as high as the club boys’ team she has also practiced with.

The next U18 Women’s National Team event is in December, and Kim hopes to be invited back.

“I guess we’ll find out. It would be awesome,” she said.

After she graduates, Kim is slated to play at University of California-Berkeley on a soccer scholarship. She verbally committed to the school during her sophomore year and will make it official this year, Jin Kim said. In the mean time, as this is her senior year, Kim is playing on the Seattle Christian soccer team, which is ranked number one in the league and is in the midst of post-season play, set to play Vashon High School on Tuesday, after press time.

As for her team’s prospects for heading to state, Abi said, “I think we have a chance, yeah.”

Colin Milovsoroff

Colin Milovsoroff, a 2012 graduate of Vashon High School and a senior geology student at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, presented a paper last weekend at a workshop on best landing sites and exploration zones for human missions on Mars.

The workshop, sponsored by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was the first in a series before the United States sends people to Mars.

“It was incredible,” Milovsoroff said afterward. “Everyone in the Mars community was there.”

At Hilo, he has been working with three professors and astrobiology students, and the abstract for their paper was one of 45 accepted for the weekend.

“The whole point was to get the conversation started with geologists and astrobiologists,” he said.

Researchers working on this issue are attempting to find a site that would supply enough oxygen, water and propulsion sources to get people back home from Mars. The landing site that will eventually be chosen, he said, should be able to accommodate teams of people coming and going at least five times. His team suggested two sites they believe would be suitable, he said, one near a flood channel carved through basalt and another near a flood channel that was formed by groundwater after a volcano erupted, causing ice to melt and the water to flow there.

Soon, he added, he will head to Hawaii’s dormant volcano Mauna Kea, which has the same geochemistry as Mars.

“By studying Mauna Kea, we can learn about Mars,” he added.

As for if he would go to Mars, he said he is undecided.

“I like a lot of things on Earth too much,” he said, though he might consider a short trip.

Jack Johannessen

Jack Johannessen, a Central Washington University senior, spent this summer learning the ins and outs of the Federal Reserve System through a prestigious internship there.

The Fed’s Avenues Internship Program offers work experience opportunities in Washington D.C. to outstanding undergraduate and graduate students majoring in economics — like Johannessen — and other academic disciplines.

“The people there are brilliant. They do so much research, and they have a lot of resources available to use,” Johannessen said in a Central Washington University press release. “I liked the environment. It would be an interesting place to work for an extended period of time.”

Johannessen’s internship responsibilities were specifically focused in the Fed’s Division of Monetary Affairs, which provides banking, finance and money market analysis.

“It was a fairly advanced project and certainly challenging,” Johannessen said.

His work centered on the rates of refinancing under the federal Home Affordable Refinancing Program (HARP) to see if the lower interest payments it provided helped homeowners pay off their debts or default less frequently on other loans.

Johannessen says he appreciated one particular insight he learned from his mentor in the program, Fed monetary affairs economist John Kandrac.

“If I want to be a serious economist, I need to be able to identify a problem, ask the right questions and then comb through the data and see what’s going on with the numbers and statistics as a way to get to the essence of what’s going on,” he said.

Johannessen, a 2011 graduate of Vashon High School, is in the midst of fall quarter classes at CWU, finishing work on his degree. He will graduate in 2016.

“I’m certainly more confident in my abilities, and I have a deeper understanding of how the field of economics works now — it’s much more data driven than what I thought,” Johannessen said. “I am going to utilize every lesson — and all that I learned — to its maximum potential. I know this experience will open a lot of doors for me in terms of what I can do and where I will work after I graduate.”