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STEM Stars of the Month: Patrick Spence & Will Myers

Patrick and Will are elementary school students in the greater Buffalo area and Channel 2's STEM Stars of the Month for March 2022.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Patrick Spence and Will Myers are the two WGRZ Stem Stars of the Month for March of 2022.

This is a first for the series with two students chosen for the feature, but for a special reason. Patrick and Will have a lot in common: they are both elementary school students in the greater Buffalo area, have a shared interest in space and astronomy-related topics (among other STEM subjects), and also have Autism. 

As described by Autism Speaks Inc., an autism advocacy and research organization, “there is not one autism but many subtypes,” noting each may have a set of challenges and strengths. For Patrick and Will, science serves as their strength.

Earlier this month Storm Team 2 Meteorologist Elyse Smith spoke to both Will, Patrick, and their families about their interest in STEM subjects and how science has played a crucial role in their childhood so far. 

Brandi Myers, Will's mom, said that "when he was in kindergarten and first grade, they noticed and said he had an aptitude for it. When he wouldn’t be able to sit down he’d go into science and math and be able to sit down.” And when he's not sitting down and studying, Will loves to create and put things together. He's made spaceships and robots out of old cardboard boxes and then recycled them afterward because, as he put it, "recycling is good for the planet." 

For Patrick, his father Tom told us, “with him, it’s just been subject of interest. So initially with him when he was like two or three years old it was the alphabet. And by three or four he had already discovered the Greek alphabet and Russian alphabet. And then he moved on to the planets. That was really the big thing he got into.”

Tom also noted that Patrick can hold his own when speaking about science, specifically the planets, and is constantly teaching him and others new things. Most recently, Patrick has picked up an interest in coding and wants to take a coding class. Seems fitting as Patrick wants to pursue the career of being a professional YouTube Content Creator with his own YouTube channel. 

But, another career path he was interested in was becoming an astronaut. Will too, wants to be an astronaut. With that in mind and a little help from NASA's Astronaut Office, Two on Your Side was able to schedule a surprise virtual meet and greet with NASA Astronaut Doug Wheelock

Via Zoom, Doug was able to share stories about the time he spent aboard the International Space Station and did a show and tell with his spacesuit and space food. Best of all, Patrick and Will were able to speak with Doug as the three have the same love of all things space.  

A stellar surprise for these special STEM Stars. 

Special thanks to those at the NASA Astronaut Office and Doug Wheelock for taking time out of their day to speak with our STEM Stars. For more autism-related resources from Autism Speaks, click here

And special thank you to Will and Patrick's families for allowing us to share their stories together.