SueAnn Bottoms was born in 1954 in rural Maine. She often felt suffocated by living in a small town. While no one else in her family had attended college, she always felt that would be her path. She attended Western Washington University from 1974-1977, where she graduated with a degree in General Studies with a concentration in Women and Gender Studies. After receiving her degree, Bottoms got a job in the U.S. Forest Service. While working in the Forest Service, Bottoms returned to school and received a B.S. in biology from Eastern Oregon University.
After twelve years, Bottoms quit her job at the Forest Service and became a science teacher. She taught science at several small rural schools, as well as a school in Spain, and ultimately worked as a classroom teacher for nine years. Bottoms had an interest in working with teachers, and in 2000 she joined the SMILE program at OSU. She enrolled in a PhD program at OSU while working full time at SMILE, and completed her doctorate in Science Education in 2007.
After receiving her PhD, Bottoms moved to the College of Education. Thanks to her degree she was quickly named chair of her department and later became an assistant professor of science education. As an assistant professor, she taught people to be educators in both formal and informal settings. She was also involved in various STEM partnerships and worked on the FIESTAS program. Bottoms later became the Director of Precollege Programs at OSU.
SueAnn Bottoms spent her career at OSU creating inclusive and accessible STEM opportunities for students and families. She retired from OSU in 2021 after 21 years at the university.