This post is written by: Jason P. Rebholz, Assistant Cultural Affairs Officer for @america
For over a year, @america, the world’s first high-tech American Cultural Center, has been creating dialogue between young Indonesians and young Americans on issues that matter. So, when NASA asked if @america would host the Space Apps Challenge in Jakarta, we jumped at the opportunity. I can’t think of a better way to bring young Indonesian coders and technologists together with their counterparts around the globe, using their talents to work on global issues. It’s a perfect fit for @america’s mission and it sounds like fun.
When we created @america, we wanted to have a high-tech space that would use technology as the bridge between Americans and Indonesians. Our two countries are physically far apart, but technology helps overcome those distances, creating virtual relationships that can be just as strong as those made in person. The coolest part of the Space Apps Challenge is that the participants will see how their work will be used to create something even bigger – how joining together with like-minded people, an individual can really produce major change.
We are lucky to be working with a fantastic partner organization, DailySocial, to help us get the right techies to join the challenge. DailySocial has organized code-a-thon programs in the past and are the perfect partners for the Space Apps Challenge.
The Space Apps Challenge is going to be one of the largest projects @america has taken on to date. We are pushing the limits of our capacity and testing just how “high-tech” we can be. It also offers us a chance to be very entrepreneurial, because the program has a lot of moving parts. As I write, the DailySocial experts are working with @america and U.S. Embassy Jakarta staff on the logistics of the competition. We are ironing out details, both large and small. From deciding how to manage our participants to arranging a shuttle bus from @america to DailySocial’s headquarters, there are a lot of decisions to make. And, just earlier this week, we found out that we will have an expert from the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas joining us in Jakarta for the challenge. So, the program continues to grow and change, all for the better.
For me, personally, I am very excited to have this chance to work with NASA. A two-time Space Camp participant, I have been fascinated by the limitless possibility that space offers. To think that after we kick off our program on April 21, about 24 hours later, folks will have created solutions that could advance space exploration. It’s just too cool for words! I feel so lucky to be a part of this project.
While the next six weeks are going to be really busy, we are all looking forward to it. It’s opportunities like this that make me think I have the best job in the world.