James Webb Space Telescope Program director credits segregated schools for his success: 'Some of the best teachers in the world'

Fresh off last week’s release of awe-inspiring photos from the James Webb Space Telescope, Program Director Gregory Robinson visited The Daily Show With Trevor Noah on Tuesday. Robinson took over the $10 billion project in 2018 and “got it across the goal line,” as he put it. While the feat would be impressive for anyone, it was especially so for Robinson.

His parents were tobacco sharecroppers in rural Virginia, where he attended a segregated school. While that may seem like a disadvantage, Robinson actually credits that education for his later success.

Noah asked, “Where does that light come from and how did you get into this role?”

“That education in the segregated school was excellent,” Robinson explained. “We had some of the best teachers in the world. Many of them were far more educated than the teachers in other schools because they couldn't get jobs in the industry like they can today.”

While Robinson modestly gave his colleagues at NASA credit for the program’s success, he gave his teachers credit for nurturing his young intellect.

“We had great teachers who really nurtured us and cared about us,” he said. “So my beginnings were very strong.”

The Daily Show With Trevor Noah airs weeknights at 11 p.m. on Comedy Central.

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