Hello everyone! I have some exciting news!

First off, some introductions. My name is Alex Aavang. I am a Software Development Engineer at Amazon by day and a Technovation[MN] board member and mentor by night. This is my first year on the board, but I’ve had a blast mentoring the teams at Aurora Charter School in Minneapolis for the past two years. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can talk about the news!

I’m proud to announce that Amazon is collaborating with Technovation[MN] to offer a new, exciting challenge for our amazing girls! It is called the Alexa Skills Challenge: Life Hacks.  Teams consisting of 2 or more individuals who participated in the 2018 Senior Division Technovation Challenge are eligible to enter the challenge.

As the name suggests, this challenge involves writing skills for Amazon’s Alexa. Alexa is the voice and brain behind the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, and the other Alexa-enabled devices out there. We are challenging teams of girls to come up with skills that solve everyday problems (aka make a Life Hack). Do you want to help others get their homework done faster? Do you need a way to destress? These are all great examples of potential starting point for an Alexa skills.

I’m especially excited for this challenge because it gives everyone the opportunity to write code in multiple professional coding languages that will be run in Amazon’s Lambda Service. This is something that professional developers do, myself included! By the end of the challenge, you’ll be able to say that you have written an application that runs in the Cloud and can be used by anyone with an Alexa-enabled device. I think that’s pretty amazing!

As an incentive for completing the challenge, every participating individual or team that completes the Challenge by submitting a skill will receive an Amazon Echo Dot (Kids Edition). This will let you use and show off the skill you just made in the comfort of your own home!

Are you as psyched as I am? Do you want to learn more? I hope the answer to both of those questions is yes! You can get started by clicking the button below!

As we say at Amazon:
Work Hard. Have Fun. Make History!

~Alex