Inspiration

When we were approached by our professor to participate in the hackathon we were under the impression that all of the projects would focus on "Women in STEM." The first thing that went through our heads was, _ Do we even know any famous women in STEM? _

What it does

It is an Alexa skill, so a user interacts with Alexa by asking for information like, "Alexa, open stem women and tell me about a woman mathematician." Alexa then picks out a random piece of information about a specific notable woman in that field, and says it to the user.

How we built it

Past the workshop we attended to get familiar with all the amazon systems for this project, we began with an Alexa fact skill template. From there we created several array variables categorized by each letter of STEM (Science, Tech, etc.). Then we did research on many notable woman in STEM fields and put together succinct recaps of their accomplishments to place into our databases. We also had to code intents for facts from each field. All of that was in Lambda, but there was also the Alexa developer console which needed work. There we completed the tedious task of registering over 100 utterances (ways of asking for information) to make sure a user could ask in any manner they choose (it's not perfect).

Challenges we ran into

There wasn't an east way of working on the same code with AWS and lambda. We kinda had to log in and out of each other's machines to get the job done. There was also the issue of neither of us being too familiar with javascript so we had to do some on the fly studying. We also had to scrap the idea of having the information on these women be scraped from websites automatically and having it be stored on a separate database from the main lambda.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We fully realized our initial concept. Our scope may have been a bit too wide at first but we were able to get at least the main things we wanted done, done. Also just the simple fact of interacting with Alexa and learning about how it all functions. Last but not least we're proud of being able to come together and get a project done as a team.

What we learned

Time management. Planning. Teamwork. Thinking realistically. Alexa. Lambda. A little bit of javascript. How much fun a hackathon is. Amazon has a grueling interview process.

What's next for Notable Women in STEM

It should remain as our first step into the world of Alexa. A monument to accomplishment as a team and as students of computer science. Perhaps we shall return to it and improve it, but it's perfect for what it means to us.

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