Cam Chatham is a Research Engineer leading the Polymer Additive Manufacturing Research Team at Savannah River National Laboratory (DOE). He graduated from Virginia Tech in 2020 with a PhD in Macromolecular Science and Engineering (MACR) program. He was co-advised by L.S. Randolph Professor of Chemical Engineering Chris Williams, and now-Director of the ASU Biodesign Institute Tim Long. 

"I was privileged to have a truly interdisciplinary committee," Chatham says, "with members specialized in Chemical Engineering (Mike Bortner), Industrial Engineering (Blake Johnson), and physical Chemistry (Bob Moore). I have always cited the breadth of knowledge on my committee as one of the most valuable assets from the interdisciplinary degree.

"My research at SRNL has continued to focus on polymer material development and the process-structure-property-printing-performance relationships that undergird a manufacturing quality assurance/control program. It has been great to continue my same themes of research began at Virginia Tech in a new context much closer to end-use application.

"Obviously, while I was at Virginia Tech I learned key laboratory and technical skills through the MACR program. But the 'soft skills' and business skills associated with conducting research that I learned from the MII professors have served me just as well in my current role. I recently hosted my first multi-institution research meeting. I only knew what to do by watching the behind-the-scenes efforts for similar meetings hosted through MII."

Considering the impact of a degree from Virginia Tech, Chatham emphasizes, "The importance of your alumni network cannot be overstated. Hokies are some of the greatest people to work with and are always ready to help out a friend. I have been amazed to find so many in South Carolina and across the DOE, even though we are not close to Blacksburg."