Of Science and Squid Emojis

UConn's Sarah McAnulty talks about making science communication better - and what's wrong with a squid emoji.

Sarah McAnulty with a squid in a lab at the Torrey Life Sciences Building on Aug. 9, 2017. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

Molecular and cell biology assistant research professor Sarah McAnulty made a splash in December 2018 when she was quoted in various national media outlets calling out Apple’s squid emoji for being anatomically incorrect. The placement of the squid’s siphon, McAnulty said, “would be like having a butt on your forehead.”

That type of candid comment is par for the course for squid expert McAnulty, who earned her Ph.D. at UConn in 2019 and has made a name for herself by breaking down barriers between scientists and everybody else.

A wildly successful effort to crowdfund a research project in 2014 showed McAnulty how much she enjoyed science communication — and how important it was. Three years later, she founded Skype a Scientist, a nonprofit organization that connects students in classrooms around the country with real live scientists.

McAnulty recently stopped by the UConn 360 podcast studios to discuss her research on the “adorable” Hawaiian bobtail squid, the latest Skype a Scientist initiatives, and why showing the public that scientists are human is vital, now more than ever.

Listen to the podcast:


Read the fall 2017 UConn Magazine feature on Skype a Scientist.