As a child, Susan L. Oldham-Fritts became interested in chemistry when she began taking on responsibilities in her household such as taking care of the swimming pool and cooking for her family. She always enjoyed taking things apart to see how they work, so she applied to the School of Engineering at the University of California, Irvine, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in chemistry. After receiving her degree, she went to work immediately as an associate engineer with McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company in Huntington Beach, California. She then went on to CIBA Geigy Company in Fountain Valley, California as a research chemist. While serving as a scientist with Hughes Aircraft Company, she earned a Master of Science in chemical engineering from the University of Southern California. Finally, she served as a chemistry teacher at Oak Grove High School in San Jose, California for nearly a decade.
In addition to her practical work in the field, Ms. Oldham-Fritts holds several patents. One of her patents in spacecraft encapsulation has become the foundation in electronic packaging. Her ideas are currently being used in many electronics throughout the industry.
Ms. Oldham-Fritts has also been an active member of her community as a Girl Scouts of America troop leader, as an organizer and judge of local science fairs. Currently, she is the chair of the Girls Engaged in Math and Science Committee of the American Association of University Women; the science fair awards chair of the Silicon Valley Section of the American Chemical Society; and fair manager of the South Valley Science and Engineering Fair. Through her work with local science fairs, she is working on using these events to advance students to county and state level fairs to compete with students in Silicon Valley. Ms. Oldham-Fritts is proud to be able to pass on her skills to younger generations through this work. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, traveling, and hiking.
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