UCI Undergraduate Journal: Volume XIX, 2016

A Letter from the Advisor

Research has become an important part of many students’ undergraduate studies. Students undertake faculty-mentored research projects to gain real-world experience and develop their skills and confidence. As a result, they are able to make a contribution to their field of study. The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal gives these student researchers an opportunity to publish these contributions and give them the recognition that they have earned.

First published in 1998, the Journal highlights the extraordinary work that is being done by undergraduates in every discipline at UC Irvine. This year’s offerings were selected after a rigorous evaluation process judged papers on the merits of their research design, significance of their results, importance of their conclusions, and quality of their writing. The standards for publication are high; of the 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 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. UROP has developed relationships with a number of international universities, making it possible for select students to experience UC Irvine’s research culture. Finally, the annual UCI Undergraduate Research Symposium provides an opportunity for students to present their research accomplishments.

We are inspired by the passion so many UC Irvine undergraduates bring to their research endeavors. Their commitment to making a difference in their fields has led to many successes, and we are proud to present some of them here.

Said M. Shokair
Director, UROP