Cameron Willden landed his dream job — developing innovative products like GORE-TEX®, high-tech guitar strings and anti-friction rope. However, it wasn’t just his good grades and charming personality that made him Gore’s newest statistician. His unique collaboration with the BYU chemistry department helped him become the perfect candidate for W. L. Gore and Associates — a company that repeatedly makes Fortune’s list of the 100 best employers.
Beginning in October of last year, Willden helped design efficient, money-saving capillaries used in chemical separation. Thanks to his professors Dennis Tolley and John Lawson, Cameron became involved with Milt Lee of the chemistry department as his part of his master’s project.
Traditional capillary columns contain tiny particles that work great, but at a high price — literally. Expensive pumps are required when using particle columns in order to prevent backpressure interference. Willden and the chemists worked to develop a polymer design that offers the same separation efficiency but for a lower cost.
“Right now the particle-packed columns are the gold standard,” he said. “With a monolithic polymer column, you still get the really tiny pores, but not as much surface area which means you can have the same efficiency with less pressure and cheaper pumps.”
Willden feels his master’s degree, which he will officially receive in June, and his experience with the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry set him apart from other newly graduated statisticians.
“I feel much more comfortable going into this job now than I would have had I not done something related to experimental design,” he said.
After completing his last class, Willden packed up his family and moved across the country, looking forward to working for the company widely known for inventing GORE-TEX® — a material that is both breathable and waterproof.
“They are just really original thinkers,” Willden said. “I’m really excited. I feel like I landed the perfect job.”