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Here are some of the Frequently Asked Questions about being a member of the Girls of Steel. If you don’t find what you need, please contact us at girlsofsteelrobotics@gmail.com.

Do the girls absolutely have to participate in selling items for the fundraisers?  No. Members may make a donation to the team to cover the $200 fundraising requirement. Family members and friends may also make donations to the team in the girl’s name.

What are the girls selling in the fundraisers?  The current year-round fundraiser is the Sarris Candies $1 candy bar sale. We also participate in the Sarris Candies Holiday Fundraisers and Pittsburgh Popcorn Company sales. Information is available on the website here.  We also still have a few LED light bulbs for sale.  Watch for new fundraising ideas coming in 2018-2019!

On the days nearest to the end of build season are the girls absolutely expected to stay until 12 mid-night or later? No. Girls are not required to stay until the midnight deadline on Bag & Tag (or on any day). While many girls and their parents do enjoy staying up to the final minute when the robot goes in the bag, many girls join in for only part of the evening.

Is financial assistance offered to girls who cannot pay the full amount?  Fee waivers are available for the Materials and Registration fee for girls who qualify for free or reduced lunch at their school or in their district. Please contact Terry at tcrich@andrew.cmu.edu if you have any questions.

Do the older girls mentor the younger or newer GoS girls?  Yes. The experienced girls often mentor the new girls and the junior members on the FTC teams.

How are the girls chosen to be a part of GoS?  Girls apply to join the team by completing an application during the summer.  Girls are accepted according to the number of positions open.  Sign up here to receive the newsletter and join the mailing list to receive an application for any of our opportunities.

What other opportunities will the GoS be exposed to from being involved with GoS?  Girls will receive opportunities to travel to conferences and outreach events to make presentations and/or do robot demos locally and regionally. They will also have opportunities to mentor younger children on the GoS FLL and FLL Jr. teams or at our summer camps.

I am a parent who wants to get involved –  how can I do that?  

  1. Contact us at girlsofsteelrobotics@gmail.com to request information about the mandatory PA child abuse and FBI clearances. We will send information to you.
  2. If you already have clearances, send them to act153@andrew.cmu.edu.  Note that you’re a volunteer for Girls of Steel in the email.
  3. Finally, join us at a meeting to see what it’s like. The meeting schedule is available on the calendar here.
  4. We always need help making buttons and bandanas for the team, too.  No experience is needed.
  5. You don’t have to be an electrical or mechanical engineer or a programmer to help the team.
  6. We always need help with constructing the practice field in January, so if you like building things you can join us then.

What is your limit on the amount of girls accepted into the organization each year?  In general the limit is about 50 high school girls for the FRC team and about 15 8th/9th grade girls for the junior member FTC teams.

Do the GoS girls form bonds that thrive after graduation from high school?  Yes! You can ask the alums who come back to meetings, the holiday party, or the annual Gala.

If younger girls decided to attend alma maters of the older girls is there a network in place?  We have contact information for the alums so the younger girls can make connections during a college visit.

Will my daughter be equipped with the information and knowledge to build a robot on her own after she leaves the GoS team?  Your daughter will be equipped with information, knowledge, skills, and experiences that will allow her to form friendships and work on teams in many fields, including robotics.

Are there any summer opportunities available for building robots and coding?  Yes. When we hear of opportunities they are announced to the team via email, team meetings, or in the Girls of Steel newsletter, or other media channel.

How can I make a tax-deductible donation to the organization?  Go to this link on the Girls of Steel Website or send a check payable to Carnegie Mellon University to the address below. Please note “Girls of Steel” in the memo.

Lynnetta Miller

Carnegie Mellon University

Robotics Institute

5000 Forbes Avenue

Pittsburgh PA 15213

Is attendance taken for each meeting?  Yes. We take attendance at each meeting because there is an attendance requirement for high school members.

How many times a week must the girls meet?  

  1. During the preseason (late September through December) the girls meet twice per week, on Tuesdays from 5:30 to 8:30 pm and again on Thursdays from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. FRC girls are expected to attend 8 of the 11 all hands meetings and a total of 45 hours of meetings.
  2. During the build season (~6 weeks in January and February) the girls are expected to attend meetings for an average of 10 hours per week. The meetings are held at Carnegie Mellon University on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 5:30 to 8:30 pm and on Saturdays from ~10 am to ~3 pm.  
  3. During the competition season (March through April) members are expected to attend the all hands meetings on Tuesdays and are encouraged to attend the additional meetings on Saturdays.  
  4. Outreach events occur throughout the year and girls will be invited to sign up to participate. All girls have an outreach requirement: 20 hours for returning FRC girls, 10 hours for new FRC girls and 5 hours for FTC girls.

Where do I find the calendar or events and meetings?  The calendar is available here.

Whom do I contact with questions or concerns about my daughter’s experience on the team?  Please direct your question or concern to George at kantor@ri.cmu.edu .

Who is the payee on the checks for payments for fees, t-shirts, Sarris orders, etc.?  The payee is “Carnegie Mellon University”.

What is the address for payments?  The address is:

Theresa Richards

Carnegie Mellon University

Robotics Institute

5000 Forbes Avenue

Pittsburgh PA 15213

Where can I purchase a Girls of Steel t-shirt or bandana?  You can request to purchase a GoS t-shirt or bandana by writing to us at girlsofsteelrobotics@gmail.com

My child is interested in FIRST LEGO League. How do I sign up to receive information about joining the team?  Please write to us at girlsofsteelroboticsFLL@gmail.com to sign up to receive notifications about joining the team.

Information about the Girls of Steel FLL teams is available on the website here .

What are some of the local programs offered by Girls of Steel?

  1. Girls of Steel Robotics FRC 3504: girls in grades 9-12 and 14 by 12/31.
  2. Girls of Steel Robotics junior member program FTC 9820, FTC 9821, & FTC 9981: girls in 8th grade or 9th grade and 13 by 12/31. Read about the FTC team here.
  3. Girls of Steel Robotics FLL teams 2641, 4212, 18137, and 33303: boys & girls in grades 4 to 8.
  4. Girls of Steel Robotics FLL Jr teams at multiple schools in the Pittsburgh area in the spring.
  5. Girls of Steel summer camps:  A one week FLL Skills camp for boys and girls in grades 4 to 8.
  6. Chassis Building Workshops: offered at various times during the year. 

FRC Competitions involve a Thursday and Friday (school days/work days).  Are all the girls expected to miss school on those days?  Yes, but we understand there may be circumstances that would prevent a girl from attending the competition(s).  

Do the competition days start in the early morning so that a hotel room at CalU is really valuable?  Competition activities start early, but it’s up to you and your family to decide whether or not a hotel stay is needed when attending the Greater Pittsburgh Regional at CalU.   

Do girls get asked to leave the team if they cannot attend the away competitions due to financial/school work concerns?  No.  It is possible, however, that a girl will not be invited to reapply to the team if she does not meet her outreach or fundraising requirements by the deadlines. 

Team members will find answers to many of their outreach questions in our Outreach 101 document.  Please contact Anna N. if you still have questions or concerns about outreach. Also, please remember to complete the outreach response form within 48 hours of attending an event.

Let us know if you have other questions by email at girlsofsteelrobotics@gmail.com.


  1. FRC = FIRST Robotics Competition
  2. FTC = FIRST Tech Challenge
  3. FLL = FIRST LEGO League
  4. FLL Jr = FIRST LEGO League Junior