~A Letter from the Advisors~

Undergraduate research enables students to participate in the process of discovery. Through research, students take the knowledge acquired in the classroom and apply it in the laboratory, the archive, or in the studio. The University of California, Irvine (UCI) supports faculty-mentored research as a way of inspiring students and expanding their education. The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), the organization behind the Journal, assists UCI undergraduates in finding and exploring the opportunities to expand their knowledge, develop their talents and skills, and gain the expertise to pursue their passions.

The papers published in The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal are examples of the quality and diversity of undergraduate research conducted by students in virtually every academic unit of the campus. More than 30 percent of UCI students enroll in independent research courses, and thousands more carry out research projects or take other classes with research-related components. Over the past eight years, the Journal has published exceptional research papers by some of UCIís most outstanding students. It has been, and continues to be, a valuable part of how the undergraduate research community demonstrates UCIís 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. We have chosen to present only 15 carefully selected papers this year from almost 80 submissions. These papers represent UCIís undergraduates at their very best.

Producing a journal of this size and scope represents the work of a number of people. We commend the undergraduate authors and their faculty mentors for their commitment to the excellence of their projects. Our thanks go to the UROP Student Editorial Board, whose efforts were essential in evaluating the submitted papers and 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 and creative projects 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, UROPís programs now include, in addition to the Journal, 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 the summer of 2001, UROP launched the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP), through which more than 650 students have already conducted research projects. Moving forward, 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 (IM-SURE), and the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship in Information Technology (SURF-IT), all introduced in the summer of 2005, provide undergraduates even more opportunities to conduct research and to explore and grow. As the scope of undergraduate research continues to expand, a corps of young, inquisitive, boldly imaginative, and idealistic scholars is emergingóand we present just a few of them here.

Sharon V. Salinger
Dean, Division of Undergraduate Education 
Said M. Shokair
Director, UROP


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