AMWA and The Robonauts Partnered to Meet Healthcare Needs During COVID-19


Press Release

The American Medical Women’s Association has joined efforts with The Robonauts, a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded to teach STEM and leadership skills to young learners, to help provide 3-D printed face shields to healthcare providers around the country. The partnership was launched by Michelle Benedict, Director of Research and Development at AMWA, who also helped accelerate 3-D PPE printing efforts at the University of Michigan Medical School.

“At this time, many people feel helpless–whether from falling ill, not having enough personal protective equipment, or being distanced from the myriad of people and places they love. It is incumbent on everyone to join the fight to help one another. That means being creative about what you can offer the world. You don’t have to be working on the frontlines to make a difference. We have seen such an inspirational insurgence of ‘makers’ around the country learning to, for the first time, or extending their printing expertise to help healthcare workers.”
                                                                                                                                                       –Michelle Benedict, AMWA Director of Research and Development

ABOUT THE ROBONAUTS:  Based in Los Altos, California, The Robonauts’ mission is to teach K-12 students STEM skills using robotics. They teach leadership through the STEMup program and create volunteering opportunities to address community needs. Sophia Shams, founder of The Robonauts and an AMWA premed member, is also a member of Space Cookies, a First Robotics Competition Team 1868 created through a partnership between NASA and Girl Scouts.

“The Robonauts feel a profound responsibility in helping to combat COVID-19 during this critical time. We are thankful to our donors and volunteers who enable us to support our Healthcare Heroes.”
                                                                                                                                                     —Sophia Shams, Founder of The Robonauts

ADVISORY BOARD:  The project is overseen by an advisory board consisting of Leigh McMullen (VP, Distinguished Analyst and Fellow, Gartner), Michelle Benedict (Director of Research and Development, AMWA), John Shuniya (Senior Buyer, Ford Motor Company), Mary Hoban (Financial Analyst, Hendrick Health System), and Khawaja Shams (Senior Director of Engineering, Google).

DESIGN:  The face shield design has been provided by Michigan Medicine: University of Michigan. The materials are collected per the spec (PLA and 4 mil Polyester) for printing the headbands and preparing the shield foil. The face shields are made in accordance with the FDA Emergency Use Authorization (4/13/20).

SUPPORT:  Funding for this initiative has been supported by community donors through GoFundMe (please support!) and a grant from the American Women’s Hospitals Service, a program of AMWA that has supported global health efforts and answered the call for service since 1917.

RECIPIENTS:  Recipients of the face shields to date have ranged from large tertiary care ICUs & surgical units, pediatric oncology centers, and adult residential facilities for the developmentally disabled.  Report Adverse Events



  • Stem Magazine, Los Altos Robonaut Students and AMWA Join Forces to Make and Ship PPE, September 2020