from the Advisors~
Participating in faculty-mentored research has become an integral part of many students’ undergraduate education at UC Irvine. Students of all majors explore their interests in depth, working to answer questions and gain knowledge that expands the body of experience in their fields of study. By taking on a research project, students can apply what they learn in their classes, gain real-world skills and experience that will help prepare them for future education and careers, and pursue their individual interests beyond the requirements of their majors.
First published in 1998, The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal has provided an opportunity for these student researchers to share the results of their work. Each year, student authors have submitted their papers for a chance to be published in the Journal. Papers are evaluated based on the merits of their research design, significance of their results, importance of their conclusions, and quality of their writing. The process is highly selective; this year only seven of the fifty-five papers submitted were chosen for publication.
Many people are deserving of our thanks for their work in making this year’s Journal possible. The Student Editorial Board—a group of undergraduates representing a wide variety of majors and interests—spent endless hours reading and evaluating the papers that were submitted before applying their editing and proofreading skills to those that were selected. The distinguished members of the 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), the organization responsible for 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 funds undergraduate research projects through two annual Calls for Proposals and additional programs that provide recognition and funding. The annual UCI Undergraduate Research Symposium provides an opportunity to celebrate the students’ research accomplishments.
We hope that you will find the papers in this volume to be informative and interesting, and that you will be inspired to engage the UCI research community further. The projects represented in this volume make meaningful contributions to their areas of research, but each also opens the door to future study and analysis. Research will continue to be done in each of these fields, and we look forward to following that work in future volumes of the Journal.