from the Advisors~
Undergraduate research allows students to pursue their interests beyond
what is taught in the classroom. From the aging process in fruit flies
to the details of saints’ lives, from the accountability of private
security companies to the balance of matter and anti-matter in the universe,
students at the University of California, Irvine are encouraged to seek
answers to the questions that interest them most. Regardless of their
field of study, students’ faculty-mentored research projects and
creative activities are a vital part of a UCI education; more than one
third of the students in each graduating class have enrolled in independent
research courses, and thousands more undergraduates have carried out
research projects or taken other classes with research-related components.
Since 1998, the UCI Undergraduate Research Journal has demonstrated the
quality and diversity of these projects. Distributed nationwide, it is
a highly visible element of the research culture at UCI, and has helped
to ensure the university’s ranking among the nation’s top
research institutions. The papers published in the Journal represent
the very best of the research and creative projects that have been conducted
over the previous year. Through a rigorous evaluation process, the dozens
of papers that are submitted each year are thinned until only the best
remain. Of the sixty-four papers submitted this year, the seven selected
for publication are excellent examples of undergraduate research at its
Many people have contributed to the lasting success of the Journal, and
deserve our earnest thanks. The members of the Journal’s Student
Editorial Board, undergraduates from a wide variety of disciplines, have
put in endless hours evaluating submissions and editing the final selections.
The members of the UROP Faculty Advisory Board have lent their expertise,
ensuring that the papers selected represent the highest standards of
research in their fields. We also commend the student authors, who have
dedicated themselves to excellence, developing sincere passions for research.
Finally, we cannot thank enough the countless faculty mentors, represented
in the Journal or not, who express their own passion for research every
day by passing it on to their students. Through their continuing efforts,
the future of undergraduate research at UCI remains bright.
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, and inspiring them to lives of discovery and inquiry-based
learning. In addition to the Journal, UROP advises and assists students
in pursuing on-and off-campus opportunities, funding undergraduate research
projects through two annual Calls for Proposals. UROP also sponsors several
programs that provide students with stipends, enabling them to dedicate
themselves to their research full-time over the summer. The annual UCI
Undergraduate Research Symposium provides an opportunity to celebrate
the students’ research accomplishments.
We hope that this volume of The UCI Undergraduate Research Journal will
inspire its readers to participate in the research process. The important
tools of research—maintaining a curious and open mind, never being
satisfied with easy answers, accepting failures as challenges, and passionately
moving forward—are important elements of success in any field.
UCI undergraduates are using these tools every day to prepare themselves
for future excellence, and we are proud to present the work of a few
of them here.