About the Artist

Sue Hertz was born in San Francisco, California, where she lived until attending college. Throughout her childhood, she loved to draw with pencil, though her drawings were very different than her paintings of today. Most were sketches of faces (often in cartoon form) on the small pads of paper her father brought home for her from his real estate office. Her mother encouraged her to become a commercial illustrator, but Sue had other ideas, majoring in linguistics and German at the University of California at Davis, and spending much of her free time playing tennis and pool. Despite her other interests, however, Sue never gave up doodling, progressing from real estate pads to the margins of her college notebooks.

In 1972, Sue entered graduate school at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she still lives today with her husband of thirty years. At Cornell, Sue combined her interest in linguistics with a newly discovered interest in computer science, developing a software system for speech synthesis as part of her Ph.D. work. After obtaining her Ph.D., Sue consulted for speech technology companies, taught courses in speech perception and speech synthesis (mostly at Cornell), raised three wonderful children, and founded a speech synthesis company called Eloquent Technology, Inc. (ETI). At ETI, Sue served as President and Chief Technology Officer (not to mention dishwasher, garbage collector, and chief doodler) throughout its seventeen years of existence. ETI developed software that could read text aloud in thirteen languages/dialects, and grew from a basement operation to a world-wide leader in the text-to-speech arena (for a history of the company, see the Smithsonian Speech Synthesis History). In 2001, ETI merged with SpeechWorks International, where Sue worked for the next year and a half as Director of Text-to-Speech Technologies.

After leaving SpeechWorks, Sue found herself in the rare position of having extra time on her hands. Having never lost her passion for the pencil, she took a drawing class at the Ithaca Community School of Music and Arts (CSMA). In the years following, she took a variety of additional drawing and painting classes at the CSMA and Bill Benson's Art Studio. She also participated in two outdoor painting workshops led by Carol Ast in New Mexico, and another led by Albert Handell in Rochester, New York. Eventually pencil gave way to paint, and the rest is history.

Although she swore, after all those long hours, that she'd never start another company, in 2004 Sue co-founded a new speech technology company called NovaSpeech LLC. NovaSpeech is currently working on a project aimed at developing more natural-sounding, individualized, and affordable synthetic voices for speech-impaired individuals. In addition to being President and Chief Scientist of NovaSpeech, Sue is a part-time Adjunct Professor of Linguistics at Cornell, where she teaches occasional graduate-level classes in phonetics and speech synthesis. Though some might paint her as a workaholic speech nerd, the truth is that never again will Sue's speech endeavors overshadow her art pursuits.

Sue has displayed her artwork at group and solo shows locally, and has won several awards for both her oil and pastel paintings at juried shows. Her works are in a number of private collections in the United States.