We measure our success based on the health and happiness of our contributors as well as their productivity and positive impact in their communities and the world. We cherish the feedback we receive from our members and are excited to share some of their kind words about their experiences at SPEC.

Hear Their Voices

I transitioned into tech in an effort to implement change for social good - I was ecstatic to stumble upon SPEC! The mentorship I received through SPEC was integral in developing the confidence and skills I needed to land my first coding role.

Julia Catalano

When Dr. Rogers asked me to be a part of her new initiative called SPEC with Joe Torreggiani, I was honored and excited to be a part of their new adventure to help change the world we currently live in. Dr. Rogers couldn’t have asked me to join forces with her and Joe at a better time, given the current social injustices happening across the country and also right in our backyards in Buffalo NY. I have had the ability to be viewed as a research intern where I have expressed my interests in website design and furthering my passion to bring awareness to becoming anti-racist. This past June of 2020, I co-founded a grassroots activism group called, Citizens for Change-Lockport, where we have held race panels and started forming sub-committees to address the startling lack of diversity within the community. Being an intern for SPEC has given me the tools to allow my grassroots activism group to grow, but also I have been given the confidence to express my ideas pertaining to a micro-credential that gives college graduates help toward finding their first job after graduating. I am excited and hopeful for the future of SPEC.

Bethany Patterson

As a non-traditional student, I entered college with a clear vision for what I wanted my education and career to look like. However, because of the perspective and experience I gained from my education, I seriously reconsidered my career plans during my last year of school and I’m now working in a new professional role that I never expected (or prepared!) to fill. This program has already empowered me to grow and achieve in all of the roles I fill — employee, neighbor, student, citizen. I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity to spend my last year of college working with The Buffalo Project/SPEC because this program gave me an opportunity to build a diverse set of skills (writing, technology, cultural competency) that will serve me both personally and professionally for years to come.

Mikayla Schneiter

For me, SPEC’s model has been a cross between a laboratory and a playground: I have tested ideas and made mistakes, all while feeling safe and supported. I’ve learned that there are many opportunities available to apply my talents, and ways I can help build a fairer world.

Nay Farber

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