Skip to main content

WVU Extension Service 4-H robotics team makes shields for health care workers

boy stands at worktable

Members of the Monroe County 4-H Robotics Team have been hard at work building face shields using 3D printers. The group delivered their first batch of the protective shields to health care workers in Monroe and Summers counties. (WVU Photo)

Download full-size

What’s the news?

The nationally recognized West Virginia University Extension Service Monroe County MCubed (M3) 4-H Robotics Team is used to solving problems, thinking innovatively and rising to the challenge. So, when the mayor of the Union called upon members to assist in making protective gear for West Virginia medical professionals and health care providers, the group didn’t hesitate.

Mayor Caroline Sparks knew medical supplies, including masks and shields, would be difficult for our West Virginia communities to get, so she immediately set out to find solutions. Sparks’ son, Riley, is a member of MCubed, and she knew she had a great resource to call upon for help. 

Using digital technology, a 3D printer and ingenuity, the robotics team spent hours printing and creating nearly 40 face shields in three days to provide to local health care facilities in Monroe and Summers counties. The team was able to use money raised to attend the FIRST Tech Challenge World Championship, which has been canceled, to make the shields.

Quotes and comments

“Working with our community leaders, including our school superintendent and mayor, we were able to gain access to some of the 3D printers that our robotics team helped secure last fall. The team provided a prototype to one of our local health care professionals to try and approve, then, the team got to work making the shields. We’re really proud of how these young people stepped up to assist during this public health crisis.” - Don Dransfield, WVU Extension Service 4-H Agent, Monroe County

“Monroe County has a long history of being self-sufficient and self-reliant. So as not to yet be a burden on the system, I sought a solution. As a mom of a MCubed 4-H robotics team member, I knew how these kids designed in CAD and printed their own parts on a 3D printer for this season's robot. The team even went and taught a class at each school on how to use the printers. I called the team coach and told her about the idea of using the 3D printers to make safety equipment. She put the team in action, and we were able to distribute the first batch of face shields on April 1. I believe these kids exemplify the true meaning of 4-H’s head, heart, hands and health.” - Caroline S. Sparks, Mayor, Union

“We saw on the news that there was a shortage of protective equipment in the medical field due to this current pandemic. Our coach found that Prusa, a 3D printer company, provided files and instructions to 3D print PPE to donate. It is crucial that medical staff have this equipment to protect themselves while helping others.” - Ian Jackson, Member, Monroe County MCubed 4-H Robotics Team

“As club leaders, we just facilitate and support their work. The kids raised the money necessary to purchase the supplies and applied their technical skills to help the community.” - Callie McMunigal, Leader, Monroe County 4-H Robotics


Monroe County MCubed (M3) 4-H Robotics Team Facebook page

Target audiences

  • Community members
  • 4-H members and clubs
  • Local, county and state leaders
  • Health care organizations



CONTACT: Tara Curtis
Director of Communications & Marketing
WVU Extension Service

Call 1-855-WVU-NEWS for the latest West Virginia University news and information from WVUToday.

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.