UCI Undergraduate Journal: Volume XV, 2012

A Letter from the Advisors

Participating in faculty-mentored research has become an integral part of many students’ undergraduate education at UC Irvine. Students of all majors explore their interests in depth, working to answer questions and gain knowledge that expands the body of experience in their fields of study. By taking on a research project, students can apply what they learn in their classes, gain real-world skills and experience that will help prepare them for future education and careers, and pursue their individual interests beyond the requirements of their majors.

First published in 1998, The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal has provided an opportunity for these student researchers to share the results of their work. Each year, student authors have submitted their papers for a chance to be published in the Journal. Papers are evaluated based on the merits of their research design, significance of their results, importance of their conclusions, and quality of their writing. The process is highly selective; this year only seven of the fifty-five papers submitted were chosen for publication.

Many people are deserving of our thanks for their work in making this year’s Journal possible. The Student Editorial Board—a group of undergraduates representing a wide variety of majors and interests—spent endless hours reading and evaluating the papers that were submitted before applying their editing and proofreading skills to those that were selected. The distinguished members of the Faculty Advisory Board used their expertise and judgment to aid in the final selection process. We recognize the efforts of all the undergraduate researchers—whether they submitted their papers or not—for the energy and passion they have brought to their work. Finally, we offer our heartiest thanks to the faculty mentors who have dedicated themselves to ensuring their students’ success; through their efforts, today’s students will be prepared to pursue their own academic and professional excellence.

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), the organization responsible for the Journal, is dedicated to supporting the research community at UCI. Founded in 1995, UROP has supported thousands of undergraduates, providing unique opportunities for them to engage in research and creative projects, helping them develop an appreciation of the scope and complexity of the research process. In addition to the Journal, UROP advises and assists students in pursuing on-and off-campus opportunities. UROP funds undergraduate research projects through two annual Calls for Proposals and additional programs that provide recognition and funding. The annual UCI Undergraduate Research Symposium provides an opportunity to celebrate the students’ research accomplishments.

We hope that you will find the papers in this volume to be informative and interesting, and that you will be inspired to engage the UCI research community further. The projects represented in this volume make meaningful contributions to their areas of research, but each also opens the door to future study and analysis. Research will continue to be done in each of these fields, and we look forward to following that work in future volumes of the Journal.

Sharon V. Salinger
Dean, Division of Undergraduate Education 
Said M. Shokair
Director, UROP
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 Sally S. Dickerson
Professor Samuel L. Gilmore
Professor Diana N. Krause
Professor John C. LaRue
Professor Richard H. Lathrop
Professor Hartmut Luecke
Professor Lisa Naugle
Professor Jane O. Newman
Professor James S. Nowick

UROP Student Editorial Board

Usama Ehsan
Robert Gramer
Brandon Haghverdian
Whitney Hua
Noor Ketana
Francis Lee
Dhivya Sridhar

UROP Journal Assistant

Jerry McMillan, Journal & Symposium Student Advisor

~ A Letter from the UROP Student Editorial Board ~

Through The Undergraduate Research Journal, UCI provides its undergraduates with the unique opportunity to publish the research they develop under the eye of a faculty mentor. This opportunity is not only for scientific research—students of all disciplines submit their work for publication, and it has been our honor as members of the Student Editorial Board to help select the papers that represent the best of the UC Irvine research community. Just as passion guided these exceptional students through their research, our passion for our various disciplines and for editing allowed us to delve into each paper with zeal. We evaluated over fifty submissions, striving to find the ones that were the most significant, the most original, and had the most to offer to the Journal’s multidisciplinary audience. The dedication we showed to the Journal can only be matched, and then surpassed, by the authors in this volume, who spent countless hours ensuring their work met the highest standard for excellence. We would like to congratulate these men and women for their accomplishment.