Ms. Aurelia Skipwith is a leader in the field of environment, natural resources, and wildlife. As a businesswoman, biologist, and lawyer, she is a strong advocate for the use of science in the development of natural resources and has been at the forefront of the intersection of science, law, and the environment. Skipwith’s experiences span multiple sectors – government, private sector in Fortune 500, and privately-held companies.
Skipwith was born and raised in Indianapolis, IN. She graduated from Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities in Muncie, Indiana, earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Howard University, and a Master’s Degree in Molecular Genetics from Purdue University. After working in the private sector, she obtained her law degree from the University of Kentucky College of Law and is licensed to practice in Kentucky and Washington, D.C.
After graduate school, Skipwith began working at Monsanto Company’s (now Bayer Corporation) Regulatory Affairs using science to develop sustainable crops while ensuring environmental health. She progressed from a lab technician to the Corporate Affairs Department where she managed international development projects in Africa and a multi-million-dollar Ph.D. scholarship program to advance breeding developments in rice and wheat.
Skipwith left Monsanto to obtain her law degree. After law school, she served as Assistant Corporate Counsel for Alltech, Inc.’s Crop Science Division, which was focused on soil and crop health.
In 2017, Skipwith was appointed as a Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Department of the Interior. In 2019, she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate with a bipartisan vote as the 22nd Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She was responsible for the federal management of fish, wildlife, plants, and their natural habitats. She managed over 8,500 employees and 850 million acres of land and water. During her tenure, she revolutionized the agency’s operations:
1) increasing access to public lands
2) providing more opportunities for hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation
3) engaging new audiences, particularly from urban settings
4)digitizing systems to improve speed and efficiency for the public and employees.
Her objective is to improve the quality and quantity of opportunities for individuals and communities, through science and law.
In her free time, she is outdoors fishing, hunting, or running, She is an avid runner and holds a sub-3 hour marathon time.