Sarah McAnulty began Skype a Scientist when she was a graduate student at the University of Connecticut because of her concern that the political divisiveness in the United States was leading to a mistrust of science. Skype a Scientist pairs volunteer scientists with classrooms around the world to make science accessible and fun through personal connections. The nonprofit also focuses on helping students see the diversity in science.
One scientist volunteer fondly recalled the time when she was Skyping with a class and the teacher reminded students that coding isn’t just for boys. “It’s true,” the volunteer said. “I code every day, and I’m a girl!” Two of the girls in the back of the room threw up their hands and jumped out of their seats with huge smiles.
More than fifteen thousand scientists from around the world have participated in the program, along with more than forty-eight thousand student groups from seventy five countries. Volunteers sign up online to provide classroom Q&A sessions via Skype, Zoom or other platforms.