Teenage Latina Coder Created an Alexa Immigration Questions Skill to Help Friends and Family
A 14-year-old Latina high school student at KIPP Brave High School in Austin, Texas created an Alexa Skill called "Immigration Bonds" that lets immigrants ask all the questions they need. Suguey Carmona is from Mexico and had first-hand experience with what immigrants needed to know the most.
The struggle is real
“I chose to work on this technology because I see my own friends and family who have questions and who are struggling to make a living, and I thought maybe I should do something about it,” Carmona told NBC News.
Lack of access to information, particularly due to language barriers, is a real problem for immigrants. Carmona's Alexa Skill provides a safe environment to get that information in their own language.
But building the technology was no easy feat. It took Carmon months of work and research.
“I’d work on it for hours each day,” Carmona told NBC News. “I’d start a new paper and it would crash and break and I’d be like, ‘Oh, shoot. Now I have to start over again.”
Carmona debated which was the best way to present the technology. Initially, she considered a video game for children or a phone app.
Finally, she chose Alexa Skill because she liked “how you didn’t need certain keywords for it to work.”
“Alexa would reply no matter what you respond,” Carmona told NBC News. “The problem with text boxes is that if you don’t put in certain words or phrase things a certain way, it won’t read it and that can make it really complicated for people who are trying to use it to get answers.”
Carmona was able to then test the Skill on her friends and family and adjust it according to their feedback. Now it is available Alexa Skills store on the Amazon website and Carmona plans to one day publish it as an Apple app too.