AWS Public Sector Blog

Announcing the Winners of AWS Educate’s Alexa Skills Challenge

From January 24, 2019 – April 22, 2019, AWS Educate hosted the Alexa Skills Challenge for student members in the United States. Students built solutions to address challenges in the academic setting related to student life, learning, and the community. Participants learned and built solutions using a variety of AWS technologies such as machine learning and conversational artificial intelligence. With AWS Educate’s resources and support, participants delivered helpful Alexa Skills.

A panel of judges selected a grand prize winner, the top category prize winners, and honorable mentions. Students will be awarded prizes including an AWS DeepRacer, an AWS DeepLens, Amazon Echo Devices, AWS Promotional Credits, and Amazon gift cards.

And now (drumroll please), here are the winners of the AWS Educate Alexa Skills Challenge:

Grand Prize (awarded to the highest scoring submission among the category prize winners)

Pilot Talk by Raviteja Lingineni

With Pilot Talk, you can navigate through the busy skies just like a professional pilot on the radios. As an aspiring pilot, Ravi says that learning aviation radio communication is one of the most challenging aspects for students. The aviation terms and abbreviations used by pilots and controllers are like learning another language. This submission also won for Best Student Learning Skill.

“The virtual instructor will let you know what to say and then ask for follow-up items if you missed anything. Working with Finite State Machines was cool. There are powerful ways to build skills that can create a great conversational experience. There are many different things that can happen in the air, and keeping track of all the states to make a proper voice flow without using “if” statements everywhere was incredibly powerful,” said Ravi Lingineni.

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Best Student Life Skill

Assignment Assistant by Simon Michael

Assignment Assistant makes it easy for students to check their upcoming homework assignments at any time, regardless of what else they’re doing.

“Education is all about access to information. With Alexa, we can learn through voice as if we were talking to another person. I wanted to extend this to information that students require on a daily basis — their homework. When using Assignment Assistant, it feels like you are talking to a classmate about your homework, except that assignment assistant never gets it wrong. Working on this skill taught me a lot about how Alexa works and its vast capabilities. I’m excited to continue building skills,” said Simon Michael.

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Best Student Community Skill

Rowan U by Tyler Carberry

Rowan U provides information for all aspects of your college experience at Rowan University, from before you apply all the way through graduation. Students are provided a way to easily access updates and information.

“The school has a number of apps and online resources for students. Between ordering food, checking my grades, and finding events, I have at least five Rowan apps on my phone. This Alexa Skill allows me to access all of the information in one place. This is a timesaver for students. It makes it much easier to keep track of updates and information without having to open each individual app. I found it really easy to build with Alexa and I plan on expanding my Skill to other universities,” said Tyler Carberry.

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Honorable Mention

Hokie Dining by Saad Siddiqui

Use this skill to find out which dining halls are open on Virginia Tech’s campus before you go out for food! Saad built a skill that will let students know which dining halls on campus are open at any given time. “Traveling to a dining hall can take upwards of 10 minutes of walking. With this skill, students can ask Alexa which dining halls on campus are open. This was the first time that I had created an Alexa Skill on my own. I am very proud of my ability to think of an idea that would be beneficial to the 10,000+ students that live on Virginia Tech’s campus, and to move through several barriers in order to create the final product,” said Saad Siddiqui.

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Honorable Mention

Luther Chips by James Miller

James’s Alexa Skill allows students to access the school’s newspaper articles via their Echo devices. “Luther Chips will make our student newspaper more engaging and accessible to the community. I am working on adding more advanced querying capabilities (top readership, most liked, etc). I’m excited to continue building and implementing additional features,” said James Miller.

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Honorable Mention

Campus Polls by Daniel Davidson

Create and take polls for your college campus. Daniel built a skill that will allow students and faculty to create polls for their school and get feedback from the community. “I wanted to create an on-campus survey system that will allow students, faculty, and administrators to gather insights and assess student satisfaction,” said Daniel Davidson.

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Honorable Mention

MLA Style by Karytta Lianny Bahamon

Karytta turned a time-consuming research task into an  easy-to-use Alexa Skill. “Every time students have to write an essay, they search online for the correct citation format, so I built a Skill to help students with citations. The AWS Educate’s Alexa Badge was extremely helpful in the learning process. Before this competition, I was only using Alexa to play music. Now, I’ve created two Skills and I plan to continue building and iterating,” said Karytta Lianny Bahamon.

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Congratulations to all of our winners and participants!

Student Pictures (top to bottom, left to right): Raviteja Lingineni, Karytta Lianny Bahamon, Saad Siddiqui, Tyler Carberry, Daniel Davidson, James Miller

As innovation continues to drive the future of technology, the demand for a highly skilled, cloud-enabled workforce remains on the rise. AWS Educate provides tools for students around the world dreaming of a technology career. With AWS Educate, students and educators can access training, content, and AWS Promotional Credits to skill up on the cloud. Learn more about AWS Educate.