UCI Undergraduate Journal: Volume VI, 2003

A Letter from the Advisors

As we have certainly witnessed during this past year, the world is growing more complex despite advances in technology and the valuable contributions of modern scholars. As a result, we are searching for new ways of recognizing, addressing and resolving the problems of our world, and obviously our youth is where we turn to first. By engaging their minds to think outside of course work and requirements, we can cultivate a generation that will be even more capable of developing innovative solutions for both entrenched and newfound problems.

At the University of California, Irvine (UCI) we hope to achieve this goal by encouraging our undergraduates to find their passion and develop that enthusiasm by participating in a faculty-mentored research or creative project. The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) at UCI seeks to provide today’s students with opportunities that might lead them to develop their talent and guide them to the expertise needed to become tomorrow’s leaders, thinkers and scholars.

Over the past six years, The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal has published exceptional research papers by some of UCI’s most outstanding students. Since 1998, we have had the privilege of reading and reviewing the results of hundreds of remarkable undergraduate research and creative projects, and each year the selection process becomes more difficult as the quality of the submissions continues to rise. Nevertheless, we carefully select those few papers that we believe represent UCI’s undergraduates at their very best. Although we have chosen to present only six papers this year, some 34 percent of students enroll in an independent research course, and thousands more carry out research projects or take other classes with research-related components.

A journal of this size and scope could not have been produced without the assistance of many participants. We commend the undergraduate authors and their faculty mentors for their commitment to the excellence of their projects. We thank the UROP Student Editorial Board, whose comments and efforts were essential in the evaluation, editorial and production processes. We express sincere gratitude to the UROP Faculty Advisory Board, whose distinguished members provided final evaluations of the papers selected for publication. Finally, we acknowledge the hundreds of students and faculty who participate in research each year, whether associated with UROP or not, and thank them for the wide array of exciting and innovate scholarship they provide the UCI community. The Journal will continue to be a valuable part of how UCI’s undergraduate research community demonstrates UCI’s excellence on a national level.

UROP is committed to supporting and facilitating faculty-mentored undergraduate research projects and creative activities. Launched in 1995, UROP’s programs now include advising and assisting students in pursuing on- and off-campus research opportunities, funding undergraduate research projects through Calls for Proposals in the Fall and Spring Quarters of each academic year, and sponsoring the annual UCI Undergraduate Research Symposium, in addition to the Journal. In the summer of 2001, UROP launched the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP), through which close to 270 students have already conducted research projects. As the scope of undergraduate research continues to grow, a corps of young inquisitive, boldly imaginative, and idealistic scholars is emerging–and we present just a few of them here. We welcome your comments on Volume VI of The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal.

Meredith Lee
Dean, Division of Undergraduate Education 
Said M. Shokair
Director, UROP
A Letter from the UROP Student Editorial Board

Journal Advisors  

Meredith Lee
Dean, Division of Undergraduate Education

Said M. Shokair
Director, UROP

UROP Faculty Advisory Board

Professor Peter Ditto
Professor Donald Hoffman
Professor John LaRue
Professor Richard Lathrop
Professor Hartmut Luecke
Professor James Nowick
Professor James Penrod
Professor Richard Robertson
Professor Martin Schwab
Professor Craig Walsh

UROP Student Editorial Board

Courtney Baird
Gregoria Barazandeh
Lauren Brothers       
Brad Cohn
Nellie Day
Michael Gray
Ahmed Ibrahim
Sylvie Inkindi
Rita Rabbath
Jana Remy
Irene Tang
Valeri Terrell
Martin Vega
Elizabeth Yanni   

UROP Journal Assistants

Ann Kalayil Abrams, Journal & Symposium Student Advisor
Matt Hauske, Advising & Publications Assistant
Megan Nowell Kaufman, Publications & Web Assistant
Henry Yan, Computer Resource Specialist

~Letter from the UROP Student Editorial Board 2003~

The application of knowledge is one of the most important aspects of learning. This principle is reflected in the high quality of the material presented in this year’s UCI Undergraduate Research Journal. The selection of papers by the Editorial Board was both a demanding and rewarding process. As a team of students from a variety of disciplines we brought our expertise and passions to the table in discussing the merits of each submitted work of research. As selection was narrowed, we edited the articles for argument, style and cohesion. While working with our peers on the Editorial Board we each bettered our editing skills and increased our commitment to the importance of undergraduate research at UCI. We expect that you will enjoy the efforts of the student researchers and their faculty mentors in this volume. In addition, we hope that the Journal encourages further faculty-mentored undergraduate research, and affirms UCI’s strong commitment to undergraduate education.