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In Memoriam: Raphael “Rafe” Sagarin

Ecologist and environmental policy analyst Raphael “Rafe” Sagarin (2002-03 Congressional Fellow sponsored by the Geological Society of America) was associate research scientist and adjunct assistant professor for the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at University of Arizona. His work transforming the old coral biome at Biosphere 2 into an educational, living model of the Gulf of California was tragically cut short on May 28 when he was struck by a motorist while bicycling north of Tucson. 

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Rafe with octopus.

Rafe was dedicated to striving for positive change. His efforts exemplified the vision and mission of the S&T Policy Fellowships to improve policy with the application of science, and to develop and execute solutions to address societal challenges. Rafe was a rigorous researcher and writer. Based on his experience as a marine ecologist and Congressional Fellow, he authored “Learning from the Octopus: How Secrets from Nature Can Help Us Fight Terrorist Attacks, Natural Disasters, and Disease” (2012), among several other recent books. He was also an active STPF volunteer who presented at several fellow and alumni events. You can learn more about Rafe on his website, and view his presentations here.

University of Arizona Dean of the College of Science, Joaquin Ruiz, said in a statement, “Dr. Sagarin was committed to education and research, and understood that the Biosphere was a unique platform for science and education. He represented all of us in our commitment to quality and making things better. 'Rafe' will be deeply missed. His energy and enthusiasm were contagious, and it was a blessing to have known such wonderful colleague."

Any loss to the STPF community leaves a hole in the fabric of the fellowship family, as well as our broader collective efforts at the intersection of science and policy. We are proud to have counted Rafe among the ranks of the S&T Policy Fellows.