SIRTF Profiles: Suzanne Dodd
SSC Deputy Manager
Hello. My name is Suzanne Dodd (most people call me Suzy) and I am the deputy manager of the SIRTF Science Center. My job as deputy manager is to do whatever the manager asks me to do, and be the backup when the manager is away. The manager is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the science center. This includes things like making schedules showing when software or documents will be complete, negotiating the scope of work with other parts of the SIRTF project, reviewing engineering and science products, developing budgets, setting salaries, and rewarding or disciplining employees. I get involved in most all of these things. It is a very broad set of duties and requires both technical skills and interpersonal skills. Thatís why I like it.
I never aspired to working in the space business, although I did really enjoy watching the Apollo moon landings in late 60's and early 70's. Growing up in Gig Harbor, Washington, I can remember being in 3rd grade and watching on TV the Navy frogmen jumping out of the helicopters into the ocean and getting the astronauts out of the capsule. I thought that looked really fun. I always enjoyed mathematics and problem solving, and had a very enthusiastic high school physics teacher. We did neat experiments with Hot Wheel cars, predicting distance traveled vs. starting height, and when I got to college I decided to study engineering.
I attended a small liberal arts college called Whitman College, in Walla Walla, WA. and also attended Caltech here in Pasadena on a combined engineering program. When I graduated, I got the chance to work on the Voyager Project at JPL, which was a year away from flying by Uranus. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, no one knew what Uranus looked like, so I accepted the position. After working on several other projects at JPL and getting a masters degree in aerospace engineering from USC, I joined the SIRTF Science Center. That was 3 years ago. Itís great to work at an academic institution. Things are less formal and there is more freedom than at a typical aerospace company.
My husband also works at Caltech. He works in the athletic department as the swimming and water polo coach. If I get the chance, I like to challenge him in tennis during my lunch hour. I also train with a masters swim team, and occasionally compete in a swim meet or ocean swim. We have two daughters, ages 11 and 8, who are talented artists, musicians, and soccer players. I do a lot of the typical soccer mom stuff: carpools, snacks, award dinners, laundry, etc. Iím even a certified soccer referee! We like to take interesting vacations (a lot of our leisure activities focus around water sports) and we recently took a trip to Iceland, where in addition to volcanoes and thermal mud pots, we also found great swimming pools with water slides, all geothermal heated.
NOTE: In March 2003, Suzanne Dodd was named SSC Manager to replace the retiring Bill Green.