UCI Undergraduate Journal: Volume XVI, 2013

A Letter from the Advisor

For undergraduate students at UC Irvine, pursuing a faculty-mentored research or creative project is an opportunity to enrich their education. Students can explore their passions, see how their classroom knowledge works in the real world, and develop skills and experience that will serve them throughout their careers. Upon successful completion of a project, students look for opportunities to share their accomplishments—the results and deeper implications of their work—by presenting and publishing their research.

First published in 1998, The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal has provided an opportunity for students to publish their research. Each year, student authors have submitted their papers for a chance to be included in the Journal. These 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; of the thirty-six papers submitted this year, only five 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 UROP 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), responsible for publishing 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 provides recognition and funding for undergraduate research projects through two annual Calls for Proposals. Several UROP-sponsored programs offer students the opportunity to conduct research full time over the summer and be compensated for their time and efforts. We invited students to broaden their research interests through the Multidisciplinary Design Program. Finally, the annual UCI Undergraduate Research Symposium provides an opportunity for students to present their research accomplishments.

We hope that you find this volume of the Journal to be informative and inspiring. We are proud of the student researchers whose projects are represented herein, and are honored to have the opportunity to share the results of their work with you.

Said M. Shokair
Director, UROP
A Letter from the UROP Student Editorial Board

Journal Advisor

Said M. Shokair
Director, UROP

UROP Faculty Advisory Board

Professor Alice Fahs
Professor Samuel L. Gilmore
Professor John C. LaRue
Professor Richard H. Lathrop
Professor Shahram Lotfipour
Professor Hartmut Luecke
Professor Lisa Naugle
Professor James S. Nowick
Professor Roxane Cohen Silver

UROP Student Editorial Board

Stephanie Cheng
Natasha Sekhon

UROP Journal Assistant

Jerry McMillan, Journal & Symposium Student Advisor

~ A Letter from the UROP Student Editorial Board ~

As members of the UROP Student Editorial Board, it was our honor and privilege to assist in bringing this volume of The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal to life. We started by reviewing the 36 papers that had been submitted by undergraduate researchers throughout the campus and evaluating each on the significance and novelty of the research, depth of analysis and quality of writing. While all of the papers showed the immense pride of their authors, we reached the difficult conclusion that the five papers contained herein most clearly met all of our high standards for publication. We continued our engagement with the Journal, carefully editing and proofreading each of the remaining papers to ensure that the final product was a true showcase of the best that UC Irvine has to offer. Being a part of the Student Editorial Board has given us the opportunity to learn from every step of the process, knowledge and experience that we will be able to apply to our own research throughout our education and future careers. We hope you will find similar inspiration as you enjoy this year’s Journal.