Curriculum Vitae (detailed)

(pdf version linked here)


Phd, May 2009
Aeronautics & Astronautics
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN
 GPA: 4.0/4.0
Thesis: A Nanolaminate Manufacturing Technique for Multifunctional Materials and Devices

MS, Dec 2005
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN
 GPA: 4.0/4.0
Thesis: Method for Manufacturing High Quality Nanoparticle / Polymer Nanocomposites

BS, May 2003
Mechanical Engineering
Utah State University
Logan, UT
 GPA: 3.9/4.0
Senior Project: A Flow-Through Thermoacoustic Cooler

Honors and Awards

A Student Responder at Purdue's 207th Commencement, May 2009

AAE Outstanding Graduate Student. 2009

Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) Fellowship. 2006-2008

Purdue University Andrews Recruiting Fellowship. 2003-2005

Indiana Center for Advanced Manufacturing, Student Poster, 4th Place. 2006

NSF Graduate Fellowship, Honorable Mention. 2005

Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering Research Symposium Series, 2nd Place. 2004

Utah State University Club Scholarship (top 24 incoming students). 1997-1998, 2000-2003



Multi-scale and/or multifunctional materials, composites, and nanocomposites.  Simple, inexpensive manufacturing methods for materials with complex, multi-leveled structures.  Current work focuses on a 'directed' Self-Assembly method for nanocomposites with nano-scale, repeating layers.

Experience and Accomplishments, Purdue

  • Developed a new nanoassembly method called Spin-Spray Layer by Layer Self Assembly (SSLbL)
  • Decreased cycle time two orders of magnitude compared with traditional Layer by Layer Self Assembly (LbL), from 20 minutes to 20 seconds
  • Increased material usage efficiency from 1% to over 50%
  • Enabled simple, non-sacrificial construction of materials with nanometer scale order in the thickness direction and micrometer scale order in the in-plane direction
  • Utilized a combination of microfluidics principles, numerical approximations, and experimental work to refine SSLbL
  • Successfully built nanocomposites containing carbon nanofibers, multi-walled and single-walled carbon nanotubes, and nanoclay
  • Developed structural and electrical characterization and tested nanocomposites as strain gages, battery electrodes for lithium-ion batteries, and as structural films

Experience and Accomplishments, Utah State University (undergraduate research assistant)

  • Designed and built a test frame to test plastic pipe up to 7 feet in diameter
  • Modified an in-house pipes Finite Element Code to include soil-pipe friction elements
  • Participated on a team of 7 students to build and test an open-open thermoelectric cooler (Senior Project)

Journal Publications

  • Merrill, M.; Sun, C.T. Fast, Simple, and Efficient Assembly of Nanolayered Materials and Devices. Nanotechnology 20, 2009.
  • Merrill, M; Sun, C.T. Nanolayered Devices with Three-Dimensional Structure via Spin-Spray Layer by Layer Self Assembly (in preparation).

Conference Proceedings

  • Merrill, M.; Sun, C.T. Nanostructure/Strain-Resistance in Thin Films Containing Carbon Nanofibers and Carbon Nanotubes. Paper and Technical Presentation, ASC 23rd Technical Conference, 2008. Chosen for the 'Best Paper Award.'
  • Merrill, M.; Sun, C.T. Nanolaminate Manufacturing of Nanostructured Battery Anodes. Poster, NSTI Nanotech Convention, 2007.
  • Merrill, M.; Sun, C.T. Development of a Nanolaminate Manufacturing Method. Poster, Advancing Manufacturing Summit V, Purdue University, 2006.
  • Merrill, M.; Sun, C.T. Development of a Self-Assembly Method for Manufacturing Nanocomposites with High Loadings of Nanoparticles. Paper and Technical Presentation, ASC 20th Technical Conference, 2005.
  • Merrill, M.; Sun, C.T. Processing Nanocomposites of High Volume Nanoclay Contents. Technical Presentation. ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition, 2004.

Grants & Funding Sources

  • Research Work was supported by the Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CAM) in Indiana and by the Office of Naval Research
  • Participated with Professor C.T. Sun in writing and submitting proposals or pre-proposals for this research to CAM, General Electric, and the US Army Office of Advanced Research

President, Purdue Graduate Student Government (PGSG) 2006/2007

  • Represented Purdue's 7,000 graduate and professional students in issues ranging from graduate/staff insurance to Responsible Conduct of Research
  • Chaired the Graduate Student Senate - approximately 50 senators, one from each graduate department on campus
  • Chaired the 'executive board' overseeing the work of the Graduate Student Committees
  • Facilitated the development, execution, and reporting of the 2006/2007 goals, including one significant new event (a job fair just for graduate students)

Executive, Purdue's First Graduate Student Job Fair 2007
  • Collaborated with two other executives: Presidents of the Black Graduate Association and Latino Graduate Student Organization
  • Formed and led a committee of volunteers from across the university to recruit companies to specific disciplines
  • Gathered support from the Graduate School, the Graduate Student Government, the Center for Career Opportunities, Departmental Graduate Student Organizations and others
  • Achieved 2007 goal with 500 students in attendance, 35 companies for the first year
  • Presently Serve as a continuing member of the executive committee to transition the event fair into a sustainable, annual Purdue event (now in its 3rd year)

Founding Member, AAE Grad Student Organization 2007-2008

  • Supported the creation of a department graduate student organization and served on the initial committee as secretary
  • Oversaw the weekly student newsletter for 5 months
  • Aided the chair in developing the constitution and transitioning into an established, ongoing organization (now in its 2nd year)

Lab Manager, Composite Materials Lab 2007-present

  • Planned and supervised moving the lab to a new building, including development of the new lab layout
  • Developed chemical and safety training and tracking mechanisms to fulfill university and building requirements efficiently and simply
  • Oversee lab safety and equipment, including a large autoclave, hot press, MTS servo-hydraulic testers, waterjet, X-ray, Ultrasound Scanner, etc.

Purdue Committees

  • Graduate School Dean Search/Advisory Committee 2008
  • Purdue Strategic Plan Review Committee Summer, 2006
  • University Faculty Senate 2006/2007
  • Purdue University Graduate Council (non-voting Representative) 2006/2007
  • For Small But Important Things (FSBIT) Grant Committee 2006/2007
  • PGSG Academic & Professional Committee 2007-2009
  • PGSG Outreach Committee 2005/2006


Lecturer, AAE Aircraft Structural Analysis (Junior Level course), Summer 2009
  • Teach a core AAE course with 23 undergraduate and graduate students
  • Redesigned course from previous years
  • Currently implementing some learning techniques not previously used in this course, including a student-produced glossary project, frequent 'think-pair-share' activities, and some challenge-based instruction by using some homework assignments as introductions to class materials

Lead Judge, AAE Research Symposium Series 2006-present

  • Ran a 10-week graduate/undergraduate student research symposium series each fall
  • Led the evolution of the rubric for judging presentations with targeted areas of improvement to fulfill perceived shortcomings (e.g. abstract writing, clear motivation)
  • Recruited and trained new judges
  • Publicized the event to potential presenters and the department. Averaged 30 students in attendance each week
  • Judges provided written feedback for all presenters and awarded best presenters cash prizes

New Graduate Student Mentor, Structures 2006-2008
  • Assigned to mentor 2-5 new graduate students in the structures area
  • Met initially with them to help with registration, follow-up meetings and emails to help with finding an advisor and recreational, service, and educational opportunities in the area.
  • Received and answered e-mails that were sent to the 'Ask an AAE Grad' on school website

GAANN Fellowship, Teaching Component 2006-2009
  • Set and worked toward annual teaching goals
  • Formal teaching experience with Professor C.T. Sun in the junior-level structures class (office hours, guest lectures, test grading)
  • Participated in courses from Purdue's Center for Instructional Excellence in service learning, test writing, lecturing, and other subjects

Invited Lectures & Presentations
  • Purdue's 207th Commencement Ceremony, Colleges of Engineering, Education, and the School of Veterinary Medicine. Student Response:  Service and Volunteerism.  West Lafayette, IN. May 16, 2009
  • AAE Graduate Student Mentoring Program Funding Graduate School. West Lafayette, IN.  september 2007, September 2008.
  • AAE Sophomore Seminar, Ethics and Professionalism (with two other presenters). West Lafayette, IN. March 2008

Service (External)

Youth Leader 2008-present
  • Responsible for approximately 20 young men, ages 12-18
  • Oversee Sunday lessons, weekly activities, and Boy Scout advancements
  • Primary emphasis on making and reaching goals involving spiritual, physical, social, and educational growth

Missionary, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Ukraine, Kyiv Mission 1998-2000
  • Served in Ukraine (primarily Russian-speaking areas)
  • Learned to speak, read, and write freely in Russian
  • Taught religious lessons in both home and class settings
  • Participated in and organized community service such as English lessons


C. T. Sun (Masters and PhD Thesis Advisor)
Neil A. Armstrong Distinguished Professor of Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering
Purdue University
Armstrong Hall, Room 3335
701 W Stadium Ave
West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2045

Cindy Nakatsu (Interim Dean of the Graduate School during my tenure as Graduate Student Government President)
Professor of Agronomy
Purdue University
Lilly Hall of Life Sciences, Room 3359
915 W. State Street
West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2054

Thomas W. Atkinson, Ph.D. (Associate Dean of the Graduate School)
Associate Dean of the Graduate School
Purdue University
Young Hall, Room 160
155 South Grant Street
West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2114

Byron Pipes (Committee Member, PhD Thesis)
John L. Bray Distinguished Professor of Engineering
Purdue University
Armstrong Hall
701 W Stadium Ave
West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2045

Jeffrey Youngblood (Committee Member, Masters and PhD Theses)
Assistant Professor of Materials Engineering
Purdue University
Armstrong Hall
701 W Stadium Ave
West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2045