Professor Wayne Hayes views undergraduate research as a way to inspire students to extend their educational goals. By exposing students to the research process, he hopes to give them the opportunity to increase their self-confidence and help them more clearly see the heights of achievement to which they might strive. Professor Hayes received the 2017 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Fostering Undergraduate Research for the Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences in recognition of his contributions to the undergraduate research culture at UC Irvine.

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

The Computer Science department has almost 2,000 undergraduate students. Among such a population, just by sheer statistics, there must be some awesome students. I wanted to tap that potential and spur excellent students, who may not otherwise have been exposed to research, to be challenged by cutting edge research problems.

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

I look for creativity, problem solving ability, and an ability to clearly communicate. GPA is almost irrelevant. I expect students to show initiative, to challenge even my ideas (which are not always correct!).

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

I have weekly 3-hour meetings where the students interact with each other and with me, reporting on the week's findings and collaboratively planning the next step of the research.

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

Many now consider graduate school where they did not consider it before; some have gained significant self-respect and confidence in their abilities.

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

I've learned that if you push students to their potential with interesting problems, and with support and respect for their time (e.g., giving them a bit of a break on research during midterm season), then they will often do amazing work.

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

Find a professor who you think is doing interesting research. Then go read a research paper of theirs, and go to their office hours and ask intelligent questions about that paper. They will be impressed that you've read a research paper and have understood it enough to ask interesting questions. You can find papers authored by your professors through Google Scholar.

Research Interests: Scientific Computation

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