~A Letter from the Advisors~

An undergraduate education begins in the classroom, but there is much more to learn. Undergraduate research gives students the opportunity to go beyond the classroom to create new methods, explore further questions, and expand the boundaries of human knowledge and experience. The University of California, Irvine (UCI) is committed to supporting faculty-mentored undergraduate research as a way of inspiring students and broadening the scope of their education. More than 33 percent of the students in each graduating class have enrolled in independent research courses, and thousands more carry out research projects or take other classes with research-related components. The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP), the organization that publishes the Journal, supports undergraduates in their research projects and creative activities, helping them turn their drive for learning into tangible skills, knowledge and experience that will be invaluable as they move on through their careers.

Since 1998, The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal has demonstrated the quality and diversity of research conducted in nearly every academic unit on campus. It is a highly visible element of UCI’s undergraduate research culture, helping to confirm the excellence of UCI at a national level. Each year, the Journal publishes a few outstanding papers submitted by some of UCI’s most dedicated and talented students. Over the past nine years, we have been privileged to read and review the results of hundreds of undergraduate research and creative projects, and the selection process becomes more difficult every year. This year, out of 83 submissions, we have carefully chosen only seven papers that represent UCI’s undergraduates at their very best.

Producing a journal of this scale and quality would not be possible without a tremendous team of contributors. We commend the dedication of the undergraduate authors and their faculty mentors to their projects. Our thanks go to the UROP Student Editorial Board for their essential contribution in reviewing the submitted papers and editing and producing the Journal. We express sincere gratitude to the UROP Faculty Advisory Board, whose distinguished members provided valuable guidance in the final selection of papers for publication. Finally, we acknowledge the hundreds of students and faculty who participate in research and creative projects each year, and thank them for the passion and energy for learning 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, 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 800 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 emerging, and 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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