Girls Who Code students teach Alexa new skills
This summer, Amazon is hosting Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program classrooms in our New York, Seattle, and Sunnyvale offices. These 7 week computer science immersion programs provide a life changing experience for the participating rising high school juniors and seniors, who learn coding, creative thinking, public speaking and collaboration skills.
High school is a critical moment in the girls' lives to make a decision about their future careers. Learning how to code and having female role models will help them realize that they do fit in a STEM career.
Recently, the Girls Who Code students had the opportunity to team up with our engineers to help make Alexa smarter. Each of the three classrooms participated in an Alexa Workshop, where the girls learned how to build their own Alexa Skill using the Amazon Developer Portal, created Lambda functions using Alexa skills, and tested their work end-to-end on an Echo Dot. By the end of the workshop the Girls Who Code students taught Alexa how to tell knock-knock jokes, give a compliment, and thank the engineers who taught them how to build Alexa skills.
Anca Kopetz, a Software Development Engineer on the Alexa team in Sunnyvale, believes that “high school is a critical moment in the girls' lives to make a decision about their future careers. Learning how to code and having female role models will help them realize that they do fit in a STEM career.” Anca’s short-term hope for the Girls Who Code students is that "they will be curious enough to continue playing with the Alexa skills, and begin to build new ones" and long-term "will pursue STEM studies and join us working at Amazon."
The Girls Who Code students left the workshop inspired by the new skills that they had just created and eager to build more. Lauren K., a Girls Who Code student, noted that her favorite part of her time in the program was the Alexa Workshop because it showed her how coding could affect real world applications.
About Girls Who Code: Girls Who Code was founded to close the gender gap in technology. The organization has grown from 20 girls in New York to 40,000 in 50 states - which is also the number of women graduating each year with a degree in computer science.
Learn more: Girls Who Code