UCI Undergraduate Journal: Volume XVIII, 2015

A Letter from the Advisor

Designing buildings to minimize earthquake damage; eliciting how motivation can affect memory; revealing how politics can impact the life of a river; providing a new analysis of a classic novel; investigating the role of youth in a nation’s upheaval: these topics comprise the papers in this volume of The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal. They provide a glimpse into the many areas that UC Irvine undergraduates have chosen to explore through faculty-mentored research and creative projects.

The Journal, first published in 1998, presents a showcase of the best that UC Irvine undergraduates have to offer. Each year, undergraduate researchers are invited to submit their papers for possible inclusion. 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 forty-four 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 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 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