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OSA | Living History

Susan N. Houde-Walter

Dr. Susan Houde-Walter received her doctorate at the Institute of Optics, University of Rochester, where she subsequently joined the faculty and earned tenure as Professor of Optics. In 2005 Dr. Houde-Walter left the University to run LaserMaxDefense, a women-owned small business that she co-founded, to manufacture laser systems for government customers. Dr. Houde-Walter is inventor on 26 patents, and has published 100+ papers and invited talks on optoelectronic design and optical materials.

Dr. Houde-Walter began her OSA service as a graduate student, later with various program and publication committees, etc. She is an OSA Fellow, served on the OSA Board, and was later elected as OSA President (2005). Her development of international leadership, her monthly essays in OPN, her interviews of the 2005 Nobel Prize Laureates, executive team development and unprecedented fundraising success characterized her year as President. She now serves on the Strategic Planning Committee. She received the 2020 Stephen D. Fantone Distinguished Service Award from OSA.

I was raised as an artist (printmaking, sculpture, painting). Only in my mid-20s did I begin to study math and science. Because the change came in my early adulthood, I had the opportunity to notice differences in cognitive style between the fine arts and scientific disciplines. 

Susan Houde-Walter, OPN November 2005


Document Created: 12 Jun 2013
Last Updated: 5 Jun 2020