~A Letter from the Advisors~

Knowledge gained in the classroom is a vital part of an undergraduate education, but there is much more to learn. For students who venture beyond the classroom into the world of research, there are exciting opportunities that can change the courses of their lives. At the University of California, Irvine (UCI) we are committed to helping undergraduate students move beyond the textbook and classroom into hands-on research experiences. The students whose papers are published in The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal spent time in archives, laboratories, and in the field gathering the data needed to answer their hypotheses. One student said that this research experience "made school come alive." The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), the organization behind the Journal, seeks to provide UCI undergraduates with opportunities to develop their talents and gain the expertise they will need to become tomorrow's leaders, thinkers and scholars.

Over the past seven years, The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal has published exceptional research papers by some of UCI's most outstanding students. It has been, and continues to be, a valuable part of how UCI's undergraduate research community demonstrates UCI's excellence on a national level. Since 1998, we have had the privilege of reading and reviewing the results of hundreds of remarkable undergraduate research and creative projects, and each year the selection process becomes more difficult. Nevertheless, we carefully select those few papers that we believe represent UCI's undergraduates at their very best. Although we have chosen to present only ten papers this year, more than 30 percent of students enroll in independent research courses, and thousands more carry out research projects or take other classes with research-related components.

Many people must work together to produce a journal of this size and scope. We commend the undergraduate authors and their faculty mentors for their commitment to the excellence of their projects. Our kudos go to the UROP Student Editorial Board, whose efforts were essential in evaluating, editing and producing the Journal. We express sincere gratitude to the UROP Faculty Advisory Board, whose distinguished members provided final evaluations of the papers selected for publication. Finally, we acknowledge the hundreds of students and faculty who participate in research each year, whether associated with UROP or not, and thank them for the wide array of exciting and innovative scholarship they bring to the UCI community.

UROP is committed to supporting and facilitating faculty-mentored undergraduate research projects and creative activities. Launched in 1995, UROP's programs now include advising and assisting students in pursuing on- and off-campus research opportunities, funding undergraduate research projects through Calls for Proposals in the Fall and Spring Quarters of each academic year, and sponsoring the annual UCI Undergraduate Research Symposium, in addition to the Journal. In the summer of 2001, UROP launched the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP), through which close to 500 students have already conducted research projects. UROP continues to expand the opportunities it offers. The Inter-Disciplinary Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (ID-SURE), the Integrated Micro/Nano Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (IMSURE), and the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Information Technology (SURF-IT), all introduced in the summer of 2005, provide undergraduates even more chances to research, explore and grow. As the scope of undergraduate research continues to expand, a corps of young, inquisitive, boldly imaginative, and idealistic scholars is emerging--and we present just a few of them here.

Meredith Lee
Dean, Division of Undergraduate Education 
Said M. Shokair
Director, UROP


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