UCI Undergraduate Journal: Volume IX, 2006

A Letter from the Advisors

An undergraduate education begins in the classroom, but there is much more to learn. Undergraduate research gives students the opportunity to go beyond the classroom to create new methods, explore further questions, and expand the boundaries of human knowledge and experience. The University of California, Irvine (UCI) is committed to supporting faculty-mentored undergraduate research as a way of inspiring students and broadening the scope of their education. More than 33 percent of the students in each graduating class have enrolled in independent research courses, and thousands more carry out research projects or take other classes with research-related components. The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), the organization that publishes the Journal, supports undergraduates in their research projects and creative activities, helping them turn their drive for learning into tangible skills, knowledge and experience that will be invaluable as they move on through their careers.

Since 1998, The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal has demonstrated the quality and diversity of research conducted in nearly every academic unit on campus. It is a highly visible element of UCI’s undergraduate research culture, helping to confirm the excellence of UCI at a national level. Each year, the Journal publishes a few outstanding papers submitted by some of UCI’s most dedicated and talented students. Over the past nine years, we have been privileged to read and review the results of hundreds of undergraduate research and creative projects, and the selection process becomes more difficult every year. This year, out of 83 submissions, we have carefully chosen only seven papers that represent UCI’s undergraduates at their very best.

Producing a journal of this scale and quality would not be possible without a tremendous team of contributors. We commend the dedication of the undergraduate authors and their faculty mentors to their projects. Our thanks go to the UROP Student Editorial Board for their essential contribution in reviewing the submitted papers and editing and producing the Journal. We express sincere gratitude to the UROP Faculty Advisory Board, whose distinguished members provided valuable guidance in the final selection of papers for publication. Finally, we acknowledge the hundreds of students and faculty who participate in research and creative projects each year, and thank them for the passion and energy for learning they bring to the UCI community.

UROP is committed to supporting and facilitating faculty-mentored undergraduate research projects and creative activities. Launched in 1995, UROP’s programs now include, in addition to the Journal, 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 the summer of 2001, UROP launched the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP), through which more than 800 students have already conducted research projects. Moving forward, UROP continues to expand the opportunities it offers. The Inter-Disciplinary Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (ID-SURE), the Integrated Micro/Nano Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (IM-SURE), and the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Information Technology (SURF-IT), all introduced in the summer of 2005, provide undergraduates even more opportunities to conduct research and to explore and grow. As the scope of undergraduate research continues to expand, a corps of young, inquisitive, boldly imaginative, and idealistic scholars is emerging, and we present just a few of them here.

Sharon V. Salinger
Dean, Division of Undergraduate Education 
Said M. Shokair
Director, UROP
Dedication, With Gratitude
Dr. Donald D. Hoffman

This edition of The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal is dedicated to an outstanding individual. Dr. Donald D. Hoffman, Professor of Cognitive Science has served on the UROP Faculty Advisory Board from 1995 to 2007 as the representative from the School of Social Sciences. He is an accomplished scholar who is committed to excellence in faculty-mentored undergraduate research at UCI, and we are grateful for his guidance, dedication, and the many hours he spent evaluating proposals, abstracts and manuscripts. It is with gratitude for his support that we dedicate Volume IX of The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal to Professor Hoffman.

A Letter from the UROP Student Editorial Board

Journal Advisors  

Sharon V. Salinger
Dean, Division of Undergraduate Education

Said M. Shokair
Director, UROP

UROP Faculty Advisory Board

Professor Wendy A. Goldberg
Professor Donald D. Hoffman
Professor John C. LaRue
Professor Richard H. Lathrop
Professor Hartmut Luecke
Professor James S. Nowick
Professor James W. Penrod
Professor Richard T. Robertson
Professor Martin Schwab

UROP Student Editorial Board

Nika Bagheri
Kimberly Balazs
Dana Deats
Ahmed Ibrahim
Jenny Ouyang
Abraham Qavi

UROP Journal Assistants

Megan Nowell Kaufman, Publications & Web Assistant
Jerry McMillan, Journal & Symposium Student Advisor
Henry Yan, Computer Programmer and Analyst

~ Letter from the UROP Student Editorial Board ~

The UCI Undergraduate Journal provides a unique opportunity for undergraduate researchers to see the results of their work in print. As members of the Student Editorial Board, we have formed a close relationship with the volume that is now in your hands. Each of us brought a unique set of skills and experiences that we applied in reviewing and evaluating the 83 papers submitted for this year’s Journal. We feel that the quality and variety of work in the final seven papers selected by the Faculty Advisory Board for publication reflect not only the ability and passion of the student authors and their faculty mentors, but also the strong commitment to academic achievement and the undergraduate research culture at UCI. Through our work together we increased our knowledge of research in fields other than our own, improved our writing and editing skills, and strengthened our abilities to work as a team. We learned to respect each other’s opinions, lean on each other’s strengths, and admit our own failings. The Journal is dedicated to the quest for knowledge, of which undergraduate research is such an important part. We hope that this volume will inspire future undergraduates, as it has inspired us, to ask new questions, seek new answers, and develop a passion for knowledge and its pursuit.