Susan Houde-Walter has an undergraduate degree in studio arts from Sarah Lawrence College and a Ph.D. from the Institute of Optics, University of Rochester. She became professor at the University of Rochester in 1987 and taught Optical Science & Engineering for eighteen years (1987–2005). She conducted research in the molecular structure of multi-component glasses, laser materials, and optoelectronic design. She left the University of Rochester in 2005 at the rank of Full Professor to assume the role of CEO at her own company, LaserMax, Inc., in Rochester NY. She is currently president and CEO of LaserMax, Inc., a manufacturer of laser sights technology are for the military, law enforcement and civilians. She joined the College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona – Tucson, Arizona as Adjunct Professor in June 2005.
She is Fellow of the Optical Society of America (1996) and Fellow of the American Ceramic Society (2000).