Professor Lonnie Alcaraz recommends research as one of the most rewarding experiences a student can have during their undergraduate career. In directing the Brown Bag Theatre Company he gives his students the opportunity to see the process of producing a show from beginning to end, gaining confidence in their own skills and abilities throughout. Professor Alcaraz was recognized for his dedication to undergraduate research as the recipient of the 2016 Chancellor's Award for Distinguished Fostering of Undergraduate Research for the School of the Arts.

1. How did you develop an interest in mentoring undergraduate research or creative projects, and what type of projects have you directed?

I am faculty mentor for Brown Bag Theatre Company, a group that gives opportunities for Latin@ students on campus. I have been involved with the group for more than four years and have truly enjoyed watching so many undergrads receive leadership opportunities and watching them grow.

2. What do you look for and what are your expectations of undergraduates you select to conduct research under your guidance?

Before I will mentor I have to know that they are firmly committed to the project and that, as students, they are committed to their peers and to furthering their education through a connection to their heritage.

3. Describe your level of engagement and style in mentoring undergraduates.

For the BBTC projects, I am the producer for the show, so I help them negotiate their technical and creative desires.

4. In your experience, how have your students improved or benefited as a result of their undergraduate research experience?

They mainly become confident that they can see a project from beginning to end. This gives them the experience to create their own work in the future,

5. What have you learned or benefited from guiding undergraduate research or creative projects?

That what they can imagine can be realized. Class work gives them the skills to create an independent project but actually doing it gives them the confidence to know what it is to see it through and have impact on others.

6. What recommendations and advice would you give students embarking on undergraduate research or creative projects?

Be organized. Seek out experiences faculty and graduate students who have done similar projects so you truly know what you are in for. Know that if you do not do the work, it will not get done. Finally, that it will be one of their most rewarding endeavors they will take on in their time at UCI.

Research Interests: Lighting Design, Digital Imaging

Faculty Profile:


Past Faculty Mentors of the Month

Dec. '16 Miryha Gould Runnerstrom
Nov. '16 Allison Perlman
Oct. '16 John Billimek
Sep. '16 Wayne B. Hayes
Aug. '16 Aimee Lara Edinger
Jul. '16 Katherine Mackey
Jun. '16 Daniel Whiteson
May. '16 Wirachin Hoonpongsimanont
Apr. '16 Michael T. Goodrich
Mar. '16 Lonnie R. Alcaraz
Feb. '16 Kimberley D. Lakes
Jan. '16 Rocío Rosales