UCI Undergraduate Journal: Volume XVII, 2014

A Letter from the Advisor

Classes are an important part of an undergraduate education, but many students crave the opportunity to delve deeper into topics that fascinate them. For those who want to expand their education beyond what is covered in their coursework, students at UC Irvine have the opportunity to pursue faculty-mentored research projects and creative activities. By turning their interests into passions through the research process, students gain hands-on experience, develop skills, acquire knowledge, and forge relationships that would not otherwise be available to them.

For students who have completed their project, The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal provides them the opportunity to have their research published. First published in 1998, the Journal presents a showcase of the best that UC Irvine undergraduates have to offer. Each year, undergraduates are invited to submit their papers for possible inclusion 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; of the thirty-nine papers submitted this year, only four were chosen for publication.

Many people are deserving of our thanks for their work in making this year’s Journal possible. The UROP 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 provide funding for their time and efforts. We invited students to broaden their research interests in a team environment through the Multidisciplinary Design Program. Finally, the annual UCI Undergraduate Research Symposium provides an opportunity for students to present their research accomplishments.

This year’s Journal presents an eclectic mix of papers, representing a number of areas of research. The research excellence represented by these papers has been a hallmark of an undergraduate education at UC Irvine, and we look forward to the opportunity to continue to explore this excellence in the future.

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 ~

Research at UC Irvine takes many forms, within many fields, and we have been privileged to have the opportunity to witness its wide scope. As members of the UROP Student Editorial Board, we have each brought our own research experience to the process of creating an undergraduate research Journal that meets the highest standards of research quality, multidisciplinary communication and excellent writing. After reviewing all of the papers that had been submitted, and discussing the merits and weaknesses of each, we reached a consensus on the papers contained in this volume. We remained involved with the Journal process, contributing also to the editing and proofreading that were necessary to perfect the excellence that these papers already represented. We are proud to have been able to participate in bringing this year’s Journal to you, and hope you find its papers as informative and inspiring as we have.