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Susan Houde-Walter

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Susan Houde-Walter
Susan Houde-Walter
Susan Nicole Houde

(1954-08-20) 20 August 1954 (age 69)
New York City, NY
Alma materSarah Lawrence College (BA) University of Rochester (MS, PhD)
Known forMolecular Structure of Glass
Superlattice Disordering Optoelectronic Design
Quantum Cascade Laser
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Rochester
Rochester Institute of Technology
Doctoral advisorDuncan Moore

Susan Nicole Houde-Walter (born 20 August 1954) is an academic and technical executive in the field of optics.  She was professor of optics at the University of Rochester from 1987-2005.[1]  She used to run LaserMaxDefense,[2] a manufacturer of laser equipment for military and law enforcement.  She served as president of the Optical Society[3] in 2005 and has travelled extensively with the US military. Dr. Houde-Walter served as director of the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology.[4] from 2022 to 2023.

Early life and education


Houde-Walter was born as Susan Nicole Houde on 20 August 1954 in New York City, to Millicent (née Svoboda), a homemaker, and Raymond Houde, M.D.,[5] a pioneer in the management of chronic pain at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.  Susan was raised as graphic artist, and graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a B.A. in liberal arts in 1976.  She subsequently took the equivalent of an undergraduate physics curriculum at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University, The Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on an un-matriculated basis while working in New York City and Cambridge, Massachusetts.  She was admitted to the masters and doctoral programs in optics at the University of Rochester in New York and produced both a master's[6] and doctoral thesis[7] in the area of gradient-index optics made by ion exchange in glass, thesis advisor Duncan T Moore.

Career history


Houde-Walter taught laser physics and optical engineering at the Institute of Optics, University of Rochester beginning in  1987.  Houde-Walter was the first female regular faculty member for the first 80 years of the Institute's history.  While serving as assistant professor, she co-founded a laser manufacturing company, LaserMax, now known as LaserMaxDefense, with her husband, Will Houde-Walter, in 1989.  

Houde-Walter was elected to the board of the Optical Society in 1994 and later elected to lead the organization as its president in 2005.[8]  She left the University of Rochester at rank of Full Professor of Optics (tenured) in 2005 and was appointed adjunct faculty at the, University of Arizona College of Optical Sciences that same year.[9]  Houde-Walter was selected for the 71st Joint Civilian Orientation Conference in 2006, held in United States Central Command.  Houde-Walter served a full term on the US Air Force Scientific Advisory Board,  and multiple terms on the Army Science Board.  Houde-Walter also serves on the Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict Division Board, National Defense Industry Association.

Dr. Houde-Walter was the former chief executive officer of LaserMaxDefense, a laser manufacturer based in Rochester NY that specializes in quantum cascade lasers.[10] Dr. Houde-Walter holds over twenty patents[11] and has published widely in the fields of optoelectronics and optical materials. She served as the director of the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science at the Rochester Institute of Technology.[4] from 2022 to 2023.

Awards and recognitions


Houde-Walter is Fellow of both The Optical Society (1996) and the American Ceramic Society (2000).  She has been recognized for her service with the Public Service Commendation Medal, United States Department of the Army (2014) and the Commander’s Award for Public Service, United States Department of the Air Force (2016).  In 2017 Dr. Houde-Walter was named the New York Photonics Entrepreneur of the Year.[12] In 2018 the National Women’s Hall of Fame recognized Dr. Houde-Walter with the Keeper of the Flame Award.[13] In 2020 Houde-Walter won the Stephen D. Fantone Distinguished Service Award from The Optical Society "For outstanding service to the Society through numerous advisory and leadership roles, including 2005 President, Board of Directors Member and Chair of the Optics and Photonics News Editorial Advisory Committee."[14]

See also



  1. ^ Hall, Dennis G. (2004). "Chapter 7: Photonics at the Institute of Optics". In Stroud Jr., Carlos R. (ed.). A Jewel in the Crown 75th Anniversary Essays The Institute of Optics University or Rochester (PDF). pp. 306–308. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  2. ^ "Susan Houde-Walter, Ph.D." Retrieved 2019-02-10.
  3. ^ "Susan N. Houde-Walter Biography". Retrieved 2019-02-10.
  4. ^ a b "College of Science - RIT". www.rit.edu. Retrieved 1 September 2022.
  5. ^ "Raymond W. Houde's research while affiliated with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and other places". Retrieved 2019-02-10.
  6. ^ Houde-Walter, Susan (1983). Field-Assisted Ion Exchange in Glass (Masters). University of Rochester.
  7. ^ Houde-Walter, Susan (1987). Gradient-Index Profile Control in Glass (PhD). University of Rochester.
  8. ^ "Past OSA Presidents". Retrieved 2019-02-10.
  9. ^ "Susan Houde-Walter Faculty Affiliation". Retrieved 2019-02-10.
  10. ^ "About". LaserMaxDefense (LMD). Retrieved 3 October 2022.
  11. ^ "Patents by Inventor Susan Houde-Walter". JUSTIA. Retrieved 2019-02-10.
  12. ^ "Four honored with photonics awards". Rochester Business Journal. 21 September 2017. Retrieved 2019-02-10.
  13. ^ "2018 Keeper of the Flame". National Women's Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2019-02-10.
  14. ^ "OSA Distinguished Service Award". The Optical Society.