UCI Undergraduate Journal: Volume XXII, 2019

A Letter from the Advisor

Research opens our eyes to new possibilities, to expand our knowledge, and deepen our understanding of the world. For undergraduate students participating in faculty-mentored research is an opportunity expand their education, adding depth to the breadth provided by their classes. By engaging in a research project or creative activity, they develop skills, gain confidence, and more fully prepare themselves to meet their future academic, career and personal goals.

First published in 1998, the UCI Undergraduate Research 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 considering 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. Our undergraduate editorial assistants provided exceptional insight and discernment throughout the entire Journal 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.

The papers presented here provide a glimpse into the tremendous work being done by undergraduates throughout the UC Irvine community. We celebrate all of these students’ achievements and look forward to their many successes to come.


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

Said M. Shokair
Director, UROP

UROP Faculty Advisory Board

Professor Juliet Carrillo
Professor Manny Azizi
Professor Libby Weber
Professor Francois Primeau
Professor Katherine Rhodes
Professor Iryna Zenyuk
Professor Andrea Henderson
Professor Kevin Beier
Professor Yuqing Guo
Professor Amal Alachkar
Professor Huolin Xin
Professor Michael Hoyt
Professor Sarah Pressman

UROP Student Editorial Board

Elizabeth Jane Andrews
Ravi Singh Sandhu

UROP Journal Assistant

Jerry McMillan, UROP Advisor

~ A Letter from the UROP Student Editorial Board ~

Undergraduate Research at UC Irvine embodies the university’s spirit of diversity, innovation and interdisciplinary thought. As members of the UROP Student Editorial Board, we have worked passionately to create a Journal that showcases this unique character and displays the student body’s commitment to research excellence. After reviewing countless exceptional manuscripts, we compiled a representative volume, bringing together countless many fields and methodologies. Through a devastating pandemic, we persisted, working closely with the authors to edit, proofread, and polish their brilliant works. It is our honor to present this year’s Journal to you and to offer you a glimpse into our university’s inspiring research community.