NASA rocket scientist who grew up in Taunton never let being deaf stop him | Taunton Daily Gazette

Jen’s sixth-grade classmate, Bill, couldn’t hear. But he did read lips.

Teachers at Martin Middle School in Taunton asked her to take notes for him so he could concentrate on lip reading. The chance assignment lasted seven years and forged a life-long bond with the future NASA space flight engineer.

Today, Jen Andrews brings up Bill Yuknis when she’s advising students as college and career counselor at Taunton High.

“I definitely will say to them, ‘My friend is a rocket scientist at NASA. He sat in the same classroom as you,'” Andrews said. “I absolutely use him as an example of what kids from Taunton can achieve if they work hard.”

Yuknis, raised on Cohannet Street, lived in Taunton from 1971 to 1989. He has since played key roles in several space exploration missions. Most recently, he managed a team of engineers for the James Webb Space Telescope, which is now a million miles from Earth, readying itself to discover the secrets of the early universe.

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