Trailblazing Women Leaving Their Mark at Interior


In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating pioneering women in the field of conservation. Throughout Interior’s history, trailblazing women challenged the status quo and made substantial contributions to society. 

Take Rachel Carson -- a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee -- who worked to keep our waters healthy by exposing the dangers of DDT in her famous book “Silent Spring.” Her work as an educator, scientist and writer mobilized America’s modern environmental movement. Today, Carson’s intrepid spirit lives on at Interior with inspiring women who continue to make history and shape our relationship with nature:

Suzette Kimball: Director, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Suzette Kimball, complete with a hardhat and shovel, helps lead a groundbreaking ceremony.
Suzette Kimball (second from the right) attends a groundbreaking ceremony for a new USGS lab.

Dr. Suzette Kimball leads the world’s premier earth science agency, the USGS, which studies everything from earthquakes and volcanos to water levels and climate data. Kimball -- a scientist, scholar and author -- has shared her extensive knowledge as an environmental science professor at the University of Virginia and through her expertise on coastal ecosystem science and policy. Before working for USGS, Kimball conducted research for the National Park Services’ Global Climate Change Program. For her incredible public service, she’s received both the prestigious Presidential Rank Award as well as the Secretary of the Interior's Meritorious Service Award.

Jennifer Gimbel: Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science 

Jennifer Gimbel tours the massive Folsom Dam in sunny California.
Jennifer Gimbel tours Folsom Dam in California.

Partnerships are many times the key to accomplishing our work, and Jennifer Gimbel has forged important relationships with the public and stakeholders in her prior role as the Bureau of Reclamation’s Deputy Commissioner for External and Intergovernmental Affairs. Gimbel is also an expert on water law, having served for five years as Director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board and represented the Attorney Generals of Colorado and Wyoming. She now works on critical drought and climate change issues like the Rio Grande River and the California Water Fix and oversees the USGS and the Bureau of Reclamation.

Janice Schneider: Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management

Janice Schneider surveys an energy facility in Colorado.
Janice Schneider (center) at an energy facility in Colorado. 

Janice Schneider is in charge of four Interior Department agencies -- the Bureaus of Land Management, Ocean Energy Management, Safety and Environmental Enforcement and the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement. Overseeing 12,000 employees and a combined budget of $1.5 billion, Schneider steers Interior’s management of energy development and conservation of public lands and waters to serve the needs of the American people for all time. Schneider brings more than 30 years of environmental and natural resources experience in the public and private sectors, having served as a fisheries biologist, environmental consultant and attorney. 

Abigail Ross Hopper: Director, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Abigail Hopper on top of a helicopter landing pad in Denmark, where she met with government officials.
Abigail Hopper (third from the right) in Denmark, where she met with government officials to discuss offshore wind development.

Abigail Hopper’s legal expertise and comprehensive experience in the energy sector led her to become the second Director in the history of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. Before joining Interior, Hopper spent nine years in private practice specializing in corporate law and complex merger and investment counseling. As the lead negotiator for the State of Maryland’s interests in two major merger cases, she secured millions of dollars in benefits for Maryland and its citizens. During her time as the Director of the Maryland Energy Administration, Hopper also focused on improving Maryland’s electrical resiliency in the face of major storms. 

Allyson Anderson Book​: Associate Director of Strategic Engagement, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement 

Allyson K. Anderson conducts geothermal field studies in misty Iceland.
Allyson Anderson Book conducts geothermal field studies in Iceland.

For Allyson Anderson Book, the sciences are a powerful tool for social change -- as a science fellow for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, she worked on policy related to geology and clean energy technologies. Anderson Book, who holds a Master’s degree in geology, also served as former President of the Association for Women Geoscientists. While Anderson Book started her career as a petrophysicist/senior geoscientist at ExxonMobil Exploration Company, today she prepares the next generation of STEM leaders as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University's Science in the Public Interest Program.