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“I’m going to Disney World!”

When asked what her plans were after retiring from 13 years of service with the AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships program, Sage Russell liked to say that she was going to Disney World (which she will do in December with her grandchildren).

2011-13 Executive Branch Fellow Teresa Abraham helps Sage Rusell celebrate 13 years at STPF. | Jeff Mason

Such a truthful and light hearted response was not unlike the former STPF associate program director who was responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations and administration of the fellowships program. This included liaising with federal agencies, congressional offices, and scientific and engineering societies; overseeing the processes of selecting new fellows and placing them in host offices; and, assessing fellowship assignments.

Her characteristic positivity is reflected in an email she wrote to fellows: “Fellows provide a great example for someone about to start a new chapter in life. Your willingness to head off into the unknown, your curiosity about finding out what comes next, your commitment to putting your knowledge and your energy in service to the public, and your optimism (mostly!) that it will all work out somehow give me confidence as I take my own leap.”

I first met Sage as a second year graduate student when she gave an information session about the S&T Policy Fellowships program. I remember thinking, ‘This is what's going to make my whole doctoral program worthwhile.’ I got involved in science outreach groups, became a graduate career fellow so that I could bring science policy professionals to campus, and joined a few scientific societies. If she hadn't come to campus, I'm not sure I would have found out about the program. I might have left science altogether. Sage changed the course of my life, and I love what I do!

Elizabeth Stulberg, 2013-14 Congressional Fellow sponsored by American Society for Microbiology

Before joining STPF in 2003, Sage was a senior program associate in the Science & Human Rights Program at AAAS for six years. She will continue to reside in the Washington area for the foreseeable future.