Page 1

New Horizons VMI Journal of Undergraduate Research

Volume 4

Number 1

April 2010

New Horizons VMI Journal of Undergraduate Research

Editorial Board Executive Editor:     Mary Ann Dellinger, Professor of Modern Languages and Cultures Associate Editor for the Humanities:     D. Alexis Hart, Assistant Professor of English Associate Editor for Engineering:     Robert L. McMasters, Professor of Mechanical Engineering Associate Editor for the Sciences:     George Brooke, IV, ‘94, Assistant Professor of Physics

Contributing Editors for Volume 4 David M. Allen, Virginia Military Institute Robert L. Coleman, University of South Alabama Norman Hinton, University of Illinois-Springfield (emeritus) David W. Johnstone, Virginia Military Institute Christopher S. Lassiter, Roanoke College David L. Livingston, Virginia Military Institute Edward A. Lynch, Hollins University Megan H. Newman, Virginia Military Institute Jacob Siehler, Washington & Lee University Howard Thomas, Fitchburg State College

Cover design: Cadet Dominik Wermus (Physics and Applied Mathematics,‘10). Photograph of M33, the Triangulum Galaxy, compiled from several images taken at the VMI Observatory. New Horizons logo: Cadet Erin M. Squires (Biology, ‘08)

The editorial board of New Horizons: VMI Journal of Undergraduate Research would like to acknowledge the generous financial support of the VMI Research Laboratories and the VMI Undergraduate Research Initiative who funded the publication of this issue. Our thanks to our colleagues for their efforts on behalf of New Horizons: Dr. Charles F. Brower, Professor, International Studies and Political Science Robert C. McDonald, Associate Dean of Faculty u Dr. Christina R. McDonald, Institute Director of Writing u Dr. Bill Oliver and Ms. Sherri Tombarge, VMI Writing Center u Dr. R. Wane Schneiter, Dean of Faculty u Dr. James S. Turner, Head, Department of Biology


u Dr.

Special thanks to Leslie Joyce, Administrative Assistant, VMI Undergraduate Research Initiative, and BR Floyd, Media Administrator, Marketing and Communications.

New Horizons VMI Journal of Undergraduate Research VMI Undergraduate Research Initiative Virginia Military Institute Lexington, VA 24450

New Horizons

VMI Journal of Undergraduate Research

Volume 4  Number 1  April 2010

VMI Journal of Undergraduate Research Volume 4

Issue 1

April 2010


From the Executive Editor

3 Dedication: Dr. James E. Turner, Director of the Undergraduate Research Initiative (2002-2009)

Engineering 7

Small Arms Fire Localization and Evasive Action Device

Cadet Timothy M. Graziano (Electrical and Computer Engineering, ‘12)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. James C. Squire, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Humanities 17 Scant Resources: American and Japanese Foreign Relations Regarding Raw Materials and the Origins of Pearl Harbor

Cadet Vincent W. Abruzzese (History, ‘09)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mark F. Wilkinson, Professor of History

27 The Contemporary Pilgrim: Postmodernity and Pilgrimage on El Camino de Santiago

Cadet Even T. Rogers (English,‘10)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Robert L. McDonald, Professor of English and Fine Arts

39 Defense of the Dominican Military? An Examination of the Dominican Military’s Role in its Present Society and the Case for Disbandment

Cadet Saif A.Vazquez (International Studies, ‘10)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Richard J. Kilroy, Professor of International Studies and Political Science

Sciences 55

Directrix-Generated Curves and Surfaces

Cadet Caleb Gibson (Applied Mathematics, ‘11)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Daniel S. Joseph, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science

75 Effects of Estrogen on the Neuromuscular System in the Embryonic Zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Cadet Alexander P. Houser (Biology,‘10)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. James E. Turner, Professor of Biology


Assembling and Testing a Neutron Detector

Cadet Dominik Wermus (Physics and Applied Mathematics, ‘10)

 Research Mentor: Dr. Doug Higinbotham, Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

95 Roosting Habits of Male Eastern Small-Footed Bats (Myotis leibii) in New Hampshire

Cadet M. Erin Hawes (Biology, ‘11) and Cadet Timothy J. Brust (Biology, ‘11)

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Paul R. Moosman, Assistant Professor of Biology


About the Contributing Editors


Undergraduate Research at VMI

New Horizons  u  Volume 4  u  Number 1  u  2010

From the Executive Editor

Siempre que enseñes, enseña a la vez a dudar de lo que enseñas. [Whenever you teach, teach your hearers to doubt whatever you teach]. José Ortega y Gasset


mong the many privileges afforded me as the Executive Editor of New Horizons is the opportunity to work with cadets and colleagues from disciplines and academic divisions with which I typically have little contact. One would think that after four years, the reading, editing, and revising routine we have established at New Horizons would bring few surprises as far as the quality of cadet research and the dedication of faculty mentors across the VMI Post. After all, I have read more than a dozen technical papers produced by science and engineering majors, all of which were so advanced that only the position of the text assured me I had not mistakenly turned the manuscript upside-down. Cadet humanists, often writing about familiar subjects, have left me no less awe-struck in their challenges to long-held interpretations and fresh analyses of topics that established scholars had abandoned or ignored. The tacit rejection of academic mediocrity on the part of cadet researchers whose work appears in the journal remains the hallmark

of New Horizons and a source of pride to our VMI community. Yet as Executive Editor, I cannot truthfully assert that the intellectual prowess reflected in cadets’ articles is what I have come to most esteem in these young scholars over the course of the past four years. Rather, it has been the self-assuredness they exude when questioned or challenged on their work, be it in the intimacy of an editing session or at the podium of a public forum. Often times during the reviewing process, the faculty mentor or a New Horizons editor will make a suggestion or question particular wording to which the cadet will respond by pointing to his manuscript and saying: (courteously always and according to military protocol):”No, Ma’am, this is what I want to say.” At conferences and seminars, these new academic researchers welcome each query with equal poise and readiness in defense of their findings as well as their methodology. Such confidence does not evolve from perfunctory accolades or gratuitous shoulder-



New Horizons / April 2010

patting. It is a habit nurtured by mentors who teach their students not only “to doubt whatever [they] teach,” but to also question what others have claimed. It comes from having conquered the intellectual obstacle course that each new line of inquiry builds in the researcher’s mind and from stumbling one’s fair share of times along the way. The eight cadets whose work appears in this volume of New Horizons—as well as the cadet whose work will appear in the electronic version of New Horizons, volume 4—have jumped the hurdles of academic publication with the same determination and grace of those writers who preceded them. Representing eight departments and four VMI classes (2009-2012), they have subjected their work to the scrutiny of their mentors, other faculty members, the New Horizons editors and an anonymous third-party faculty reader. The Editorial Board of New Horizons offers our heartiest congratulations to these cadets and their academic mentors, along with the

expression of our gratitude for their patience throughout the past eight months of markups, revisions, galleys and blue-lines. We remain indebted to all our colleagues at the Institute and other institutions who served as contributing editors for this fourth volume of New Horizons. Our experience has taught us that new academic writers are best served by teacher/scholars with serious publication experience, and we recognize that the mentorship and evaluation of cadet work depends more often than not on the sacrifice of one’s own precious research time. Last, but never least, I offer the expression of my appreciation to my co-editors and colleagues, Dr. Alexis Hart, Dr. Bob McMasters, and Dr. Merce Brooke for their dedication and selfless efforts on behalf of New Horizons: VMI Journal of Undergraduate Research. Mary Ann Dellinger Executive Editor, New Horizons

New Horizons is published annually through the VMI Undergraduate Research Initiative. For information, contact: or Ms. Leslie Joyce, Undergraduate Research, 309 Science Building, VMI, Lexington, VA 24450.

New Horizons  u  Volume 4  u  Number 1  u  2010



e dedicate Volume 4 of New Horizons: VMI Journal of Undergraduate Research to Dr. James E. Turner, ’65, VMI’s first Director of the Undergraduate Research Initiative (2002-2009), Professor of Biology and Chemistry, and current Head of the Department of Biology. Dr. Turner is a national leader in undergraduate research and serves as a member of the CUR (Council of Undergraduate Research) Board of Governors. His programmatic vision and his tireless effort on behalf of cadet inquiry have proven to be continuous sources of inspiration for VMI faculty and cadets alike.


New Horizons  u  Volume 4  u  Number 1  u  2010

Small Arms Fire Localization and Evasive Action Device Cadet Timothy M. Graziano Faculty Mentor: Dr. James C. Squire, Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering ABSTRACT From ancient times to present day, warring forces have used ambush techniques in combat. In modern conflicts these tactics may take the form of hidden sniper fire whose sound is difficult to distinguish over road noise. We therefore identified the sound signature of a gunshot and developed a device that can indicate with 75% accuracy whether or not a shot has been fired. We plan future developments to include directional indication capabilities for military anti-sniper and anti-ambush applications, allowing military personnel to take evasive action if engaged in an ambush.

parts: planning, preparation, waiting, and execution. The planning, preparation, and waiting phases simply describe the procedures to set up an ambush, which include cover and concealment. The execution phase is critical. In order for an ambush to succeed, the enemy must not know the attack is coming and they must not be able to escape the ambush once it is sprung. A typical ambush begins with an IED attack. Once an IED is detonated and troops come under small arms fire, it is difficult to discern where the enemy is hiding or how to escape the “kill zone.” US troops would benefit from technology that identifies the direction of a gunshot to help them avoid sniper fire. Technology already exists that can identify gunshots and possible direction. The work done by Maher [3] shows the benefits of analyzing gunshot location with digital signal processing (DSP) techniques. An old axiom states “knowledge is power.” There


Historically, ambush techniques have been used in two ways to increase effectiveness in combat. First, they allow military forces to do much greater damage while deploying fewer men and equipment. Second, they have psychological warfare value because friendly forces must constantly stay alert for an ambush. Ambush tactics are one of the oldest and most effective forms of warfare and continue to be used throughout the world today. These tactics are currently used in the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. The modus operandi of insurgents opposed to the US-led forces in Iraq is to set off an improvised explosive device (IED) and, in the confusion, engage the already damaged High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV) or other vehicle with small arms fire before disappearing into the city [1]. According to several military experts [2], the tactic of ambush has four major 7


New Horizons / April 2010

Signal Strength

Microphone Event

Capgun Figure 1.  External Design of Device.

Figure 3.  Hand Clap in Time Domain.

is no place on earth where that assertion is more true than on the battlefields of the 21st century.

The device has a microphone, two lightemitting diodes (LEDs), and a seven-segment LED display to show strength. See Figures 1 and 2.

Purpose The goal of this research is to develop a device that can effectively distinguish the difference between a gunshot and the harsh ambient noise of the battlefield and numerically display the strength of the source. This strength value can then be used to develop directional and distance identifying capabilities.



Analysis Methods A cap gun was used as a simulacrum of small arms fire. To identify its unique sonic signature, the sound was recorded using a custom-built microphone pre-amplifier connected to a Matlab™ analysis program through a high resolution Data Acquisition (DAQ) device.

5V LDO reg

5V Inverter

1500Hz LP

500Hz LP


2500Hz LP

1500Hz LP




Figure 2.  Internal Design of System.

Graziano / Small Arms Fire Localization and Evasive Action Device

Figure 4.  Cap gun in Time Domain.


Figure 6.  Cap gun in Frequency Domain.

of another Matlab™ analysis program that the method for recognizing a cap gun signature was to measure the power bins above or below 1500Hz. See Figures 5 and 6.


Figure 5.  Hand Clap in Frequency Domain.

This setup was used to record several cap gun and other sounds in multiple domains. Once several signals were recorded (Figures 3 and 4), it was discovered through the use

Once a method for identifying a gunshot was discovered, analog filters were designed to electronically separate the signal power above and below 1500Hz. The first part of this system is a power supply and microphone pre-amplification stage. The power supply (Figure 7) was designed to deliver regulated +5V and -5V. The microphone and pre-amplification stage converts sound waves into voltages and amplifies them (Figure 8).

Figure 7.  Power Supply.


New Horizons / April 2010

Figure 8.  Microphone Preamplifier.





D1 C11











D2 C12






TO C R16



Figure 9.  Filtering Stages. This circuitry distinguishes a cap gun sonic signature versus what is merely a loud sound.









Figure 10.  Microcontroller and LED output stage. This circuitry analyzes the relative strength of the signal, and, if it is from a cap gun, displays its strength numerically.

Graziano / Small Arms Fire Localization and Evasive Action Device


Figure 11.  Stage One Prototype.

The next stage consisted of a series of high pass, low pass, and envelope detector filters. A PIC 12F683 microcontroller was programmed to provide a 150kHz and 250kHz clock for the switched capacitor low pass filter. The filters were designed using two MAX 291 chips which provided a 1500Hz low pass and a 2500Hz low pass filter. The outputs of these filters were next connected to a series of capacitors and resistors comprising the high pass filters and envelope detectors. The outputs from the filtering stages are two DC

signals, the levels of which are proportional to the root mean square power in the preceding 10ms in the 500-1500Hz and 1500-2500Hz bands of the microphone signal (see Figure 9). This system is connected to a PIC 18F2420 microcontroller programmed to compare the relative thresholds of the two band pass filters after they pass through the envelope detectors, and light the corresponding LEDs and strength display (Figure 10). The process of designing an algorithm that consistently identifies cap gun signals without triggering false positives is


New Horizons / April 2010

Figure 12.  Possible Future Developments.

not trivial, as many outside sources can disrupt or change the acoustic signature produced by the cap gun.

Final Product and Future Development The printed circuit board (PCB) was designed, populated with components, and then mounted onto a clear plastic stand for demonstration purposes (see Figure 11). Preliminary tests show the device triggers accurately 70% - 75% of the time with a 95% confidence interval. This performance level was lower than the original goal; however, optimization of the algorithm is continuing. Once the device is optimized, it will be possible to develop a more complex system with four of the original circuits in an outward-

facing array. This more complex system will have the ability, with the use of several of the designed devices, to reverse triangulate the position of a shooter and provide constant direction with the addition of an electronic compass (Figure 12). This system, in turn, can provide an instantaneous location of danger to military personnel, thereby removing the element of confusion from ambush situations and saving lives.

Conclusions The outcome of this research showed an ability to meet the intended goal of designing a system capable of recognizing a certain sound signature. The accuracy was lower than desired; however, it is still being optimized. The

Graziano / Small Arms Fire Localization and Evasive Action Device


research suggests that, through the use of digital and analog electronic filtering, it is possible to identify the sound signature of a gunshot. This research is the first step toward building a device that can identify the direction of a shooter for anti-sniper/anti-ambush applications for the military.

essential to this project. Finally I would like to thank the Wetmore Fund and SURI donors and the URI at VMI, without whose support this project would have been impossible.


[1] Operation Iraqi Freedom, Official website of Multi-national Force-Iraq, 30 Apr. 2009, “Terrorist Tactics,” index.php?option=com_content&task=view&i d=727&Itemid=44 [2] Pike, John E., 01 Dec. 2009, “Ambush Tactics,” policy/army/fm/90-8/Appc.htm [3] Maher, Robert C., Sept. 2006, “Modeling and Signal Processing of Acoustic Gunshot Recordings,” IEEE Signal Processing Society 12th DSP Workshop, pp. 257-261.

I would like to thank Dr. Jim Squire for his endless support and encouragement without which this project would not have been successful. I am forever grateful for his patience, wisdom, guidance, and advocacy. I would also like to thank Dr. Christenson who originally sparked my interest in this area of research. My thanks also go to Cadet Justin Tench who took me under his wing and provided much down to earth guidance I found


New Horizons  u  Volume 4  u  Number 1  u  2010

Scant Resources: American and Japanese Foreign Relations Regarding Raw Materials and the Origins of Pearl Harbor Cadet Vincent W. Abruzzese Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mark F. Wilkinson, Professor of History ABSTRACT Although historians point to a multitude of factors contributing to the outbreak of hostilities between the US and Japan in 1941, understanding the two nations’ competing interests regarding raw materials deserves attention as they contributed to the rising tensions that eventually erupted into war. “Scant Resources: American and Japanese Foreign Relations Regarding Raw Materials and the Origins of Pearl Harbor” analyzes how the incompatible desires of both Japan and the US to maintain access to strategic raw materials in Southeast Asia precipitated the attack on Pearl Harbor. Beginning in the late nineteenth century, Japan initiated a quest for autarky, or economic selfsufficiency, in order to supply the raw materials required by a modern, industrialized society. Its quest eventually led to the 1931 Manchurian Crisis and subsequent war with China in 1937. However, rather than secure autarky, these conflicts only increased Japan’s dependence on foreign raw materials. Japan thus turned to Southeast Asia, a region the US depended upon for its own supply of raw materials, which was made more critical as America faced war with Germany. US foreign policy makers reacted to Japan’s move on Southeast Asia with a series of resource embargoes and economic freezes. By 1941, neither Japan nor the US was willing to negotiate, as each demanded unrestricted access to Southeast Asia’s resources. Feeling that they were left with no other alternative, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.


raw materials, to name but a few. Of these, the latter deserves attention. Many historians agree that international relations regarding raw materials contributed to armed conflict. As Emeny Brooks observed even before the war, “The size and effectiveness of national power is no longer determined alone by the extent of a nation’s territory and population, or by the

n December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy attacked the United States Pacific Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and America was thrust into World War II. The origins of the bloody Pacific War are numerous, intricate, and contested. They include motives ranging from Japanese militarism and racism to economic expansion and the pursuit of 17


New Horizons / April 2010

wealth of its territories, or the strength of its armies and of its equipment in munitions, but rather by its capacity for industrialization” (1). A modernized nation requires large amounts of raw materials to fuel its industries. As Japan industrialized during the early twentieth century, it became aware of its domestic raw materials deficiency and thus sought to exclusively control East Asia for natural resources, an ambition that conflicted with the Open Door system favored by the United States. By late 1940, this conflict of interest seriously strained relations between the two nations. The attack on Pearl Harbor was, in part, an effort by the Japanese to relieve their empire of the raw material shortage that had resulted from the 1937 Sino-Japanese War, had been worsened by the American resource embargo begun in the summer of 1940, and had been made critical when the US froze Japanese assets in 1941. Beginning with the Meiji Restoration in 1868 and culminating in the 1930s, Japan sought the status of a world power, a goal that initiated Japan’s quest for autarky, or economic selfsufficiency. The Japanese home islands are largely volcanic lands and although they have access to extensive resources of wood and fish, they lack adequate raw materials needed to support an industrialized society, such as iron and oil. In 1941, E. F. Penrose, a former professor at Nagoya College of Commerce in Japan, wrote, “The supply of high-grade iron ore in the Japanese Empire is extremely small and the combined production of Japan proper and Korea has amounted in recent years to only one-fifth of the total supply” (4). As Japan modernized during the late 1800s, a great emphasis was placed on expanding the Imperial military. Shipyards and weapons factories grew across the nation. Michael Barnhart explains that, “In the process, of course Japan’s demand for iron, steel, and the other essentials of modern conflict soared” (22). Raw material shortages resulted. Initially, however, these resource shortages did not cause lasting problems. During conflicts such as the Sino-Japanese War of 1895 and the Russo-Japanese War of 1905, Japan was heavily pressed for raw materials. However, these conflicts were relatively short

and ended before resource shortages created a severe hindrance to the Japanese war effort. The advent of World War I, however, altogether altered Japanese perceptions of resources and armed conflict. When World War I erupted in 1914, Japanese staff officers stationed in Europe carefully studied the nature of the conflict. Their reports, which detailed the beginnings of trench warfare and predicted a long conflict, convinced Tokyo to review Japan’s ability to wage a protracted war (Barnhart 23). Colonel Koiso Kuniaki studied Japan’s economic situation. He toured the home islands, Korea, and China and reviewed German attempts to achieve autarky. He concluded: “Neither the home islands nor the empire in Formosa, Korea, and southern Sakhalin could provide resources sufficient for waging modern war. The control of richer territories, such as China, was imperative” (qtd. in Barnhart 22). Koiso’s conclusion solidified the notion that Japan depended on foreign resources. Japan immediately initiated a plan for domestic economic reform and overseas expansion designed to create a self-sufficient Japanese economy. Jonathan Utley explains that as Japan sought to raise its status in the Pacific region, it required secure access to resources and “by dominating the political and economic life of East Asia…Japanese leaders hoped to assure safe access to the markets and raw materials vital to Japan’s role as a great nation” (178). In 1928, Lieutenant Colonel Ishiwara Kanji began a study of Manchuria in order to determine what advantages Japan could gain there. His findings were strikingly similar to Koiso’s: “The [Japanese] economy lacked adequate quantities of nearly all the materials needed for modern warfare—and this realization added an economic dimension to the already considerable strategic attractiveness of controlling nearby territories in China. The logical starting point was Manchuria” (qtd. in Utley 24). When the Great Depression worsened, and China’s political division deepened, Japan saw an opportunity to extend its control over Manchuria completely, thus gaining access to markets and raw materials. Although Manchuria had

Abruzzese / American and Japanese Foreign Relations Regarding Raw Materials

been a part of China for hundreds of years, the Japanese had, by 1931, heavily invested in economic interests there. Most importantly, the South Manchurian Railway transported large amounts of coal and oil, both valuable resources for the Japanese economy. Many Japanese believed that bringing Manchuria fully into its control would increase raw material production. Accordingly, Japan began occupying Manchuria in late 1931. On September 18, 1931, a small bomb detonated on the tracks of the South Manchurian Railway near the city of Mukden. The Japanese Kwantung Army immediately responded and executed a well-planned attack on Mukden itself (Yoshihashi 6). By daybreak on the 19th, Japanese forces had taken the city and prepared to launch further military campaigns into Manchuria. The Mukden incident and subsequent invasion, now called the Manchurian crisis, resulted in complete Japanese control of the region: “By January 1932 the Kwantung Army and top echelons of the South Manchurian Railway were cooperating closely to draw up development plans for the new state. In March, Manchukuo was born” (Barnhart 33). Manchukuo, the Japanese puppet regime, was a great step in the quest for autarky. The entire Manchurian region was opened for Japanese resource exploitation, and in 1937, events near the Marco Polo Bridge began Japan’s military occupation of China Proper. Between 1932 and 1937, tensions between China and Japan grew, and when fighting erupted at the Marco Polo Bridge, Japan seized the opportunity to launch a full military campaign to conquer China. Within one month, Japan had occupied the Peking and Tientsin regions of Northern China and prepared to take Shanghai along the Yangtze River to the south. Initially, the Sino-Japanese conflict appeared to be another quick victory for Japan: “The Imperial Army commenced the China incident in July 1937 with plans assuming that three divisions, three months, and 100 million yen would be sufficient to conclude the affair” (Barnhart 91). However, Tokyo underestimated Chiang Kai-shek and the


Chinese who continued to battle the Japanese despite many defeats. Over the course of the 1930s, Chiang believed that either the Western powers or the Soviet Union would intervene in a Sino-Japanese conflict because they would conclude that a victorious Japan would threaten their economic interests (Sun 8991). Although, as explained later, the foreign powers did not intervene in China in the late 1930s, Chiang’s hope that they would do so prevented him from seeking peace with Japan. This move extended the length of the conflict beyond the timeframe Japan had expected. A full year after the outbreak of hostilities, the Chinese continued to fight. The protracted conflict stretched Japan’s resources desperately thin and threatened (rather than solidified) its pursuit of autarky. The Sino-Japanese War did not go unnoticed in the world, and shortly after hostilities erupted, President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed a Chicago crowd in response to the Asian conflict. In his famous address on October 5, 1937, now known as the Quarantine Speech, Roosevelt advanced the concept of maintaining peace through the diplomatic opposition to the aggressive expansion of foreign nations. He spoke of moral consciousness saying, “It must be aroused to the cardinal necessity of honoring the sanctity of treaties, of respecting the rights and liberties of others, and of putting an end to acts of international aggression” (Rosenman 409). Roosevelt also defended the Open Door Policy, or the policy of maintaining a freemarket system in East Asia. Although he did not specifically reference the Sino-Japanese conflict, his mention of the violation of the Covenant of the League of Nations and the Nine Power Treaty (both designed to protect territorial integrity) testifies to his concerns about Japanese expansion (410). He stated, “The overwhelming majority of the peoples and nations of the world today want to live in peace. They seek the removal of barriers against trade. They want to exert themselves in industry, in agriculture and business, that they may increase their wealth through the production of wealth-producing goods” (409). Through the Quarantine Speech, Roosevelt set the United


New Horizons / April 2010

States in opposition to Japanese expansion and the subsequent threat to free markets in China. However, he stopped short of open resistance. Roosevelt did not call for military action or economic sanctions against the Japanese Empire. He, along with Secretary of State Cordell Hull, made great efforts to avoid Japanese-American conflict. Despite these efforts, as the Sino-Japanese War deepened and the threat to the Open Door worsened, US policy makers gradually offered diplomatic opposition to Japan and set the stage for the 1940 resource embargoes. In 1938, Secretary Hull learned that American aircraft sales to Japan had, in part, made possible the Japanese bombing of civilian cities. Concerned, he sent a telegram on June 12 to Joseph Grew, the American ambassador in Japan, saying, “The situation is inconsistent with the abhorrence with which this Government and the American people view the current bombings of civilian populations” (FRUS 1938, 3:618). The State Department quickly requested that aircraft manufacturers cease sales to Japan. A memorandum by the Chief of the Office of Arms and Munitions Control stated, “In compliance with instructions received, I began this morning to get in touch with manufacturers to inform them orally of this Government’s desire that they do not sell or export such articles to countries engaged in bombing civilian populations from the air” (FRUS 1938, 3:618). The United States acted upon the developments in China. However, these actions were limited to words and encouragement for fear that direct opposition would risk war. As the Chinese continued to resist throughout 1938, the Japanese engaged increasing numbers of soldiers in the conflict, “[u]ltimately announcing its intention to crush all resistance throughout the country” (Marshall 57). The expanding scope of the conflict stretched Japan’s resources dangerously thin and forced it to look for new sources of raw materials. The search led Japan to Southeast Asia, and in early 1939, Japan advanced: “On February 10, Japan invaded and occupied the island of Hainan, claimed by France and only

125 miles from....Indochina” (60). One month later, Japan invaded the Spratley Islands, also controlled by France. Furthermore, “While consolidating her foothold in Indo-China, Japan was also seeking to secure economic concessions from the Netherlands Indies, with whom trade negotiations had been proceeding for some months with little apparent result” (Bisson 113). These bold moves, especially Japan’s demands upon the Dutch East Indies, escalated the strain in Japanese-American relations and heightened American concern about Japanese expansion. The Roosevelt administration reacted much more strongly to the Japanese threat to Southeast Asia— particularly the Dutch East Indies (also known as the Netherlands East Indies)—than to the Japanese threat to China’s markets. The US believed that maintaining access to Southeast Asian raw materials was imperative to American vital interests and that blocking Japan’s access to those raw materials would prevent further Japanese expansion. A close analysis of the American reliance on Southeast Asian raw materials reveals that China was not as important to the US as the Dutch East Indies: “With the exception of tung oil, China provided nothing that the United States could not obtain elsewhere” (Utley 85). Although the United States favored an open market in China—and indeed would have benefited from such a system—it did not rely on such. In the summer of 1940, “[State Department Asian specialist Stanley] Hornbeck and [Assistant Secretary of State Alger] Hiss concluded that ‘many of our most important raw material import desiderata are to be found in commercial quantities only in the Far East” (Marshall 71). The US also believed that the restrictions placed on markets due to the SinoJapanese War would end when the conflict itself ended. In 1938, the Chinese government restricted the Standard Vacuum Oil Company’s sales in China in an effort to prevent oil from reaching Japanese forces in occupied Chinese territories. The American ambassador to China, Nelson Johnson, wrote to the Chinese minister, Wang Chung-hui, expressing his belief that the restrictions were only temporary. On

Abruzzese / American and Japanese Foreign Relations Regarding Raw Materials

behalf of Standard-Vacuum, he wrote, “The Company wishes to place on record…the fact that such compliance is to be without prejudice, and that it is undertaken with the expectation that upon the termination of present abnormal conditions these temporary restrictions upon a free market will be withdrawn” (FRUS 1938, 4:579-80). American policy makers feared that, unlike Chinese restrictions, Japan’s control of Southeast Asia would be a permanent threat. Oil was one of the most important resources in the Dutch East Indies: “The involvement of American firms in the development of Dutch East Indies petroleum predated World War I… By 1920, the Netherlands East Indies were producing over fifteen million barrels of crude oil, most of which was exported as crude oil or fuel oil, benzene, gasoline, and kerosene” (Randall 30). These early American exploits paid off and by the late 1930s, the US drew immense supplies of oil from the Dutch East Indies. As Japan expended increasing amounts of resources in China, it sought new sources of raw materials, particularly oil: “Overall, Japan relied on America for 80 percent of fuel needs. For special distillates, such as gasoline, the dependence ran over 90 percent… Japan’s stockpiles were at their lowest point in years because of operations in China…The Netherlands East Indies did look promising” (Barnhart 146). The prospect of controlling the oil fields in the Indies tantalized the Japanese as a means to remedy the situation in China. When Hitler’s invasion of the Netherlands emboldened Japan’s resolve to acquire Southeast Asia, US policy makers realized that the “threat of a Japanese move against the oilfields of the East Indies…now appeared a real possibility” (Anderson 137). In addition to oil, a prized resource produced in the Dutch East Indies was rubber, a commodity necessary to manufacture equipment ranging from tires and footwear to tanks and battleships. In a statement before the Committee on Military Affairs in 1939, Colonel H.K. Rutherford identified rubber as a strategic resource, or one that was absolutely essential to the US in a time of war (House 109). He then provided alarming statistics regarding the source


of American rubber supplies, “approximately 95 percent coming from the Far East” (111). By 1939, Japan had become a large obstacle to American efforts to obtain adequate rubber supplies: “Intelligence reaching the Department of State indicated that Mitsui and Company (and associated Japanese firms) was securing a dominant position in the rubber trade between Asia and the United States. Integrating the purchasing, shipping, insuring, and selling of rubber, Japanese firms had moved in on British traders and gained control of 30 to 40 percent of the shipments of American rubber imports” (Frank 111). American policy makers realized that if Japanese expansion continued, a critical shortage of rubber could result. Looking back in 1943, rubber scientist Charles Wilson stated, “Then Pearl Harbor jarred our complacency… and raised the curtain for Japan’s grabbing the source of around 96 percent of our now doubly essential rubber” (Wilson 204). As the Japanese threat to these resources rose, the American government responded. US policy makers strengthened their resolve to oppose Japanese expansion in 1940 when they allowed the 1911 Treaty of Commerce and Navigation to expire and dispatched the US Pacific Fleet to Hawaii. The 1911 treaty was signed by both Japan and the US and detailed the nature of trade that would occur between the two nations. It granted each country most favored nation status and stated, “There shall be between the territories of the two high contracting parties reciprocal freedom of commerce and navigation” (FRUS 1911, 1:316). Due to escalating events in Southeast Asia, the American government decided to let the treaty expire in January 1940. Although passive, this decision represented an intentional act by the government to oppose Japan and primed the stage for the resource embargo that would follow in the summer. On July 26, 1939, Cordell Hull wrote to the Japanese Ambassador stating: The Government of the United States has come to the conclusion that the Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between the United States and Japan which was signed at Washington on February 21, 1911, contains provisions which


New Horizons / April 2010

need consideration. Toward preparing the way for such consideration and with a view to better safeguarding and promoting American interests as new developments may require, the Government of the United States…gives notice hereby of its desire that this Treaty be terminated. (FRUS 1939, 3:559)

“Undeterred,” the Japanese furthered their control over China by establishing “a puppet government at Nanking four months later to administer the areas of China under their control. That affront to American wishes led Franklin Roosevelt to dispatch the main body of the American fleet to Hawaii, where Japanese dive bombers found it in December 1941” (Chalk 236-37). Roosevelt vainly hoped that the presence of the US Pacific Fleet would provide a warning to Japan and dissuade them from further expansion. This strategy failed, however, and Japan continued its advance into Southeast Asia, particularly aiming for the oil supplies in the Dutch East Indies: With the American government’s abrogation of the United States-Japan Treaty of Commerce, Japanese naval leaders began serious consideration of alternative sources of petroleum supplies. Since the Netherlands East Indies, by virtue of its proximity and because of existing distribution systems, was the most accessible…the navy was increasingly determined that pressure be put on the colonial government there to increase its oil exports to Japan. (Peattie 218-19)

As Japanese-American tensions continued to rise, US policy makers came to believe that if they eliminated Japan’s access to raw materials, then Japan would be forced to end its campaign of aggressive expansion. In 1940, Hornbeck argued, “The United States could do much today toward preventing Japan from becoming supreme in eastern Asia” (Marshall 76). Civilian committees, such as the American Committee for Non-participation in Japanese Aggression, formed specifically to advance Hornbeck’s objective. These organizations believed that active opposition to Japan would stop conflict in Asia. They felt that “[s]imply by refusing to sell these goods to Japan…Japan’s aggression could be halted” (Utley 54). Blocking Japan’s

access to resources, they argued, would force it to halt its aggressive campaign while preserving US access to those same resources. Events in Europe soon allowed the proposed embargoes to take effect. In May 1940, Adolf Hitler, the Fascist dictator of Germany, invaded France, Belgium, and the Netherlands and commenced his war with the Western European powers. Although this event initially appeared isolated to Europe, it actually had far-reaching effects in the Far East that propelled the United States and Japan closer to war. Jonathan Utley explains, “Sweeping German military victories in Europe upset the precarious balance of power in Asia and created the likelihood of imminent Japanese expansion into Southeast Asia” (Utley 83). When the Netherlands fell to the German military, Japan saw an opportunity to occupy the Dutch East Indies—then left defenseless—in an effort to secure much needed supplies of raw materials. As Chalk suggests, “The Japanese regarded the German invasion as a heaven-sent opportunity to extract deliveries of raw materials and to sever China’s supply lines from Indo-China and Burma” (Chalk 270). Japan not only believed that occupying the Dutch East Indies was the best way to alleviate the resource shortage caused by the Sino-Japanese War, but also the next step in achieving autarky. The Japanese felt that the rich resources of the Indies would liberate Japan from its reliance on purchasing Anglo-American raw materials. Jon Marshall explains, “The army believed Japan must take the Netherlands East Indies as part of its program to ‘free’ itself from its dependence upon Britain and the United States...through the establishment of a self-sufficient economic sphere” (Marshall 74). By mid-1940, the Japanese firmly believed in the necessity of occupying the Dutch East Indies and stated their intentions in the Principles for Negotiating with the Dutch East Indies. As Nagaoka Shinjiro relates, “According to the ‘Principles,’ Japan was to 1) make the Dutch East Indies part of the East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, 2) support the self-determination for the Indonesian people, and 3) conclude with the Dutch East Indies concrete pacts for the defense of that territory

Abruzzese / American and Japanese Foreign Relations Regarding Raw Materials

in order to secure peace in the East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere” (Shinjiro 143-44). The rapid German victories in Europe not only encouraged Japan to occupy the Dutch East Indies, but also convinced the US that war with Germany was likely. Indeed, “[t]he collapse of the allied forces in Europe prompted the Roosevelt administration to undertake a preparedness program” (Shinjiro 83). Accordingly, increasing military preparations required a vital stockpile of raw materials, the majority of which came from the Far East. A contemporary journal article stated, “Access to the strategic raw materials… of Southeast Asia, in the immediate future at least, is no less vital to the United States than it is to Japan” (Shepherd 52). When international tensions rose in 1939, Congress proposed legislation to create a stockpile of strategic raw materials. Colonel H. K. Rutherford of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of War testified before the Committee on Military Affairs saying, “The only sure method of guarding against a shortage…is by collecting stock piles in peace and maintaining them intact as regards quantity and quality until an emergency requires their use” (House 113). Legislation was slow to pass, however, and only the momentous events in Europe in 1940 convinced government officials that immediate action was necessary. Without immediately securing access to raw materials, the US could not produce the machines, vehicles, and armaments necessary to achieve victory in Europe. Many (such as Stanley Hornbeck) believed that the proposed embargoes on raw material exports would not only limit Japanese expansion, but also conserve resources important to the American war effort. In January 1941, Hornbeck defended the resource embargoes, which had then been in effect for nearly six months. He wrote, “We are opposed to Japan’s general program of subjugating neighboring countries by force and establishing Japanese political control over unlimited areas both on land and at sea…Also, we are now engaged in a gigantic effort of our own in pursuit of our defense program, and we are conserving, by measures which we believe to be reasonable, this country’s resources”


(FRUS 1941, 4:777). A large percentage of those raw materials that the US sought to conserve originated in the Dutch East Indies. A memorandum on May 22, 1940 by General George C. Marshall states, “We have vital interests in three general areas: a. The Far East, b. South America, c. Europe” (Bland 218). Marshall intentionally highlighted Southeast Asia as vital to the US by mentioning it first. Japan dropped the final straw in early 1940 when it demanded raw material shipments from the Dutch East Indies and closed trade routes into China. Japan’s ultimatum commanded exports from the Dutch East Indies of rubber, bauxite, and oil, pressured Britain to close the Burma Road, and halted all shipments of raw materials from Indochina (Bland 240-41). As a result, American policy makers decided that immediate action was needed to halt Japan’s advance into Southeast Asia. According to Marshall, “US leaders naturally saw Japan’s encroachment on Indochina as merely the first steps in an accelerated program of expansion southward to a vital area” (Marshall 124). Recognizing the need for raw materials to fight Germany, members of Roosevelt’s cabinet persuaded him to react. On July 26, only two months after Hitler’s invasion of France, that step came: “President Roosevelt banned the export of aviation gasoline, high grade scrap iron and steel scrap to Japan” (Chalk 241). This embargo marked a major turning point in American relations with Japan as it initiated active opposition to Japan. In fact, the US embargo on raw materials placed such great strain on the Japanese that it eventually drove them to attack Pearl Harbor. After the initial embargo of aviation gasoline and steel, embargoes of nearly all militarily useful metals, machinery, and manufactured products followed: The economic sanctions applied by the United States… toward the end of 1940, were becoming increasingly severe. One item after another of strategic military importance was added to the embargo list following the establishment of the export licensing system in July: scrap iron on September 26 (effective October 10); iron ore, pig iron, ferroalloy, and


New Horizons / April 2010

certain kinds of finished and semi-finished steel products on December 10 (effective December 30); copper, bronze, zinc, nickel, brass, caustic potash, and many semi-manufactured products made from them on January 10, 1941 (effective February 3); and well and refining machinery, radium, and uranium on February 4 (effective February 10). (Shinjiro 147-48)

Although the embargoes succeeded in building the US a stockpile of raw materials for war production, they failed to curb Japanese aggression. Rather, Japan felt that it had no alternative but to occupy all of Southeast Asia. As Utley characterizes the situation, “Japan was not deterred. Instead, it felt encircled and redoubled its efforts to move south and establish control over the resources and markets of the South Seas” (Utley 85). Ironically, the embargoes backfired and accelerated the Japanese advance towards the Dutch East Indies. On September 26, 1940, following a suspension in Japanese negotiations with the Dutch East Indies, the Consul General of Batavia (Foote) informed Cordell Hull that, “It is generally believed that the lull in negotiations resulted from the desire of the Japanese to await the successful outcome of events in French Indochina and that if they are successful the Netherlands Indies...will meet the same fate in the near future” (FRUS 1940, 4:154). The movement towards war had quickened, and when the US froze Japanese assets in August 1941, war became inevitable. The American authorization freezing Japanese assets was the toughest and most active opposition to Japan the US had taken up to that time. Initially, Roosevelt had intended the freeze to be selective. He chose Under Secretary Sumner Welles to develop a method of initiating the freeze. Welles drafted a plan that allowed Japan sufficient funds to purchase gasoline below 80 octane, but froze assets on purchases of higher octane fuels. However, he left the detailed planning to Assistant Secretary of State Dean Acheson who believed that the US should oppose Japan using harsh diplomatic measures: “On August 5 [1941] Acheson met with his opposite members in the Treasury and Justice Departments. When they saw how much oil Japan would be able to buy

under the [initial] freeze guidelines, they agreed not to release funds to Japan for the purchase of items for which Export Control has already issued licenses” (FRUS 1940, 4:155). Acheson altered the language of the freeze authorization to include all petroleum products, and (oblivious to these covert changes) Roosevelt signed it. The Foreign Funds Control Committee (FFCC) immediately refused to authorize Japan funds necessary to purchase any form of oil. Japan quickly felt the negative effects and vainly attempted to negotiate a solution. Throughout 1941, both Japan and the United States attempted to reach a peaceful solution to the escalating tensions between them. During these negotiations, each nation demanded concessions from the other. The US demanded that Japan renounce the Tripartite Alliance, agree to a free trade system in China, and withdraw from Southeast Asia, while Japan demanded that the US cease arms shipments to China, agree to restore commercial relations (end the embargoes), and cooperate with Japan to assure that both nations received access to Dutch East Indies raw materials (Ike 267-71). Although both countries made demands, neither was willing to acquiesce to the other, and by late 1941, Japan had made the decision to strike Pearl Harbor. An American attaché’s report dated November 13, 1941 stated, “Japan’s economic structure cannot withstand the present strain much longer…the writer firmly believes that the military leaders of Japan decided months ago that it would be far better for the Japanese Army to go down fighting a major power than to withdraw from China for any other reason” (FRUS 1941, 4:590-91). Believing that they had exhausted all options, Japan dispatched naval forces on November 26, 1941 with plans to attack Pearl Harbor on December 7 if negotiations continued to be unsuccessful. On December 1, 1941, Japanese leaders held the final Imperial Conference and decided upon war. During the conference, Foreign Minister Togo stated, “I believe that America’s policy toward Japan has consistently been to thwart the establishment of a New Order in East Asia, which is our immutable policy” (Ike 270). By this time, Japanese leaders recognized that Japan and the United States could not

Abruzzese / American and Japanese Foreign Relations Regarding Raw Materials

reconcile their differences. If Japan capitulated to the US’s demands, then it would be forced to abandon China and Manchuria, placing it in a lower status than the Japanese were willing to accept. If the US gave in to Japan’s demands, then it would be forced to recognize Japan’s domination of Southeast Asia and lose access to the raw materials located there. Both Japan and the US required the raw materials of Southeast Asia, but their conflicting economic and cultural views placed them in opposition. By 1940, the US felt compelled to act repeatedly against Japanese aggression and to preserve resources for war in Europe. Having already allowed the 1911 Treaty of Commerce and Navigation to expire, American leaders boldly initiated a series of harsh raw material export embargoes to Japan. The situation was worsened when Assistant Secretary of State Acheson covertly froze all Japanese assets in August of 1941. Driven to desperation by a lack of materials needed to conclude the Sino-Japanese War, Japan felt there was no alternative but to attack the United States and achieve a quick victory. It was with this objective in mind that Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor and initiated American entry into World War II.

Acknowledgements I thank Dr. Mark F. Wilkinson, Professor of History and my faculty advisor, for his support and guidance throughout this project. His keen insight, interest in US-East Asian relations, and appreciation for historical scholarship made this project a joy to complete and provided an outstanding learning opportunity.

Works Cited “Address at Chicago, October 5, 1927.” The Public Papers and Addresses of FDR. Samuel I.Rosenman, Ed. New York: Macmillan, 1941. Anderson, Irvine. The Standard-Vaccum Oil Company and United States Asian Policy, 1933-1941. Ann Arbor: Xerox, 1974. Barnhart, Michael A. Japan Prepares for Total War: The Search for Economic Security, 19191941. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1987. Bisson, T. A. America’s Far Eastern Policy. New York: Institute of Pacific Relations, 1945.


Chalk, Frank R. The United States and the International Struggle for Rubber. Dissertation: U of Wisconsin, 1970. Print. Emeny, Brooks. The Strategy of Raw Materials. New York: Macmillan, 1934. Foreign Relations of the United States: 1911. Washington: GPO, 1918. Foreign Relations of the United States: The Far East 1938. 4 vols. Washington: GPO, 1954. Foreign Relations of the United States: The Far East 1939. 3 vols. Washington: GPO, 1955. Foreign Relations of the United States: The Far East 1940. 4 vols. Washington: GPO, 1955. Foreign Relations of the United States: The Far East 1941. 4 vols. Washington: GPO, 1955. Ike, Nobutaka, ed. Japan’s Decision for War: Records of the 1941 Policy Conferences. Stanford: Stanford UP, 1967. Marshall, Jonathan. To Have and Have Not: Southeast Asian Raw Materials and the Origins of the Pacific War. Los Angeles: U of California P, 1995. Peattie, Mark R. “Nanshin: The ‘Southward Advance,’ 1931-1941, as a Prelude to the Japanese Occupation of Southeast Asia.” The Japanese Wartime Empire, 1931-1945. Peter Duus et. al, Eds. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1996. 189-242. Penrose, E. F. “Japan’s Basic Economic Situation.” The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science 215 (1941): 1-6. Randall, Stephen J. Foreign Oil Policy 19191985. Montreal: McGill-Quenn’s UP, 1985. Shepherd, Jack. “Japan’s Southward Advance— Economic and Political.” The Annals of The American Academy of Political and Social Science 215 ( 1941): 44-53. Shinjiro, Nagaoka. “Economic Demands on the Dutch East Indies.” The Fateful Choice: Japan’s Advance into Southeast Asia 1939-1941. James William Morley, Ed. New York: Columbia UP, 1980. 125-53. Sun, Youli. China and the Origins of the Pacific War 1931-1941. New York: St. Martin’s P, 1993. United States. Cong. House. Committee on Military Affairs. Strategic and Critical Raw Materials. 76th Cong., 1st session. Washington: GPO, 1939. Utley, Jonathan. Going to War with Japan: 19371941. New York: Fordham UP, 2005. Wilson, Charles. Trees and Test Tubes: The Story of Rubber. New York: Holt, 1943. Yoshihashi, Takehiko. Conspiracy at Mukden: The Rise of the Japanese Military. New Haven: Yale UP, 1963.

New Horizons  u  Volume 4  u  Number 1  u  2010

The Contemporary Pilgrim: Postmodernity and Pilgrimage on El Camino de Santiago Cadet Even T. Rogers Faculty Mentor: Dr. Robert L. McDonald, Professor of English ABSTRACT In the late 1970s, visitations to the world’s spiritual epicenters surged. This was also one of the most turbulent periods in recent world history—war seemed inevitable between two ideological superpowers, it was the end of a decade of energy conflict that would culminate in the energy crisis of 1979, there was growing concern about the environment, and a sense of a pervasive materialism stemming from the emergence of a wealthier middle class in the wake of post-war reconstruction. And this was just a decade after the European intellectual community—consisting of thinkers like Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Jean-François Lyotard—was engaged in a discourse that marked the development of a “new philosophical context” known as postmodernism. It is striking how analogous our present situation is to those themes that shaped public and private lives over thirty years ago. We are in a period of economic crisis. Much of the world is engaged in conflict. In Western society, traditional roles and accompanying prescribed senses of identity are being disassembled or are in flux. Yet, pilgrimage persists. Or more precisely, so pilgrimage persists—and it continues to grow in popularity. This paper draws a connection between the virtuality and ambiguity of our hyperconnected, postmodern world and the enactment of contemporary pilgrimage.


n 1978, renowned anthropologists Victor and Edith Turner closed the first chapter of their study Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture with a statement that seems now almost prophetic. Speaking of a paradigm shift from pilgrimage earlier being “deeply tinctured with obligatoriness” to its voluntary enactment in modern society, they wrote: “[Pilgrimages] may be seen as providing live metaphors for human and transhuman truths and slavific ways which all men share and always have shared, had they but

known it. Pilgrimages may become ecumenical” (39). The Turners had noticed a striking increase in the number of individuals calling themselves “pilgrims” travelling to ancient holy sites. In the early 1980s (only a few years after the completion of the Turners’ study), the Catholic pilgrim center of Lourdes, France, would see over 4 million visitors—by 1990, this number would rise to nearly 5 million (Giuiarti 13). Many of the same themes that shaped public and private lives over thirty years ago seem



New Horizons / April 2010

analogous to our present situation. In a world of unprecedented connectivity and technological advancement, fraught with sustained periods of conflict and crisis, pilgrimage persists at a scale unprecedented in recent history. The phenomenon that the Turners had only seen in its infant stages has crystallized into a worldwide renaissance of pilgrimage. Having been informed by mass communication and having had their journey facilitated by modern transportation, individuals are now seeking out the experience of pilgrimage in a show of extraordinary self-determination. The continued enactment of contemporary pilgrimage prompts reflexive questions concerning both the experience of pilgrimage and the sociocultural source of its enactment: what is inherent in the pilgrim-experience— which is often uncomfortable, if not painful— that the contemporary man or woman finds so appealing? And to what degree can we trace interest in the contemporary pilgrimage to factors in pilgrims’ own societies?1 While accessibility to the sites has certainly increased due to a wealthier, more global society, these factors are but the conduit for a more telling current characteristic of contemporary existence. One pair of factors that seems likely to account for the flourishing of pilgrimage is the collision between the human who naturally seeks meaning in existence and the ambiguous values of a postmodern society. This clash is perhaps nowhere more apparent than in Spain, where—during the summer months, especially—the countryside swells with well over one hundred thousand peregrinos (pilgrims) who perform the ancient practice of pilgrimage on an equally ancient road: El Camino de Santiago de Compostela. *** The westward movement of pilgrims from throughout Europe to the Galician city of Santiago de Compostela originates in the legend of the death of the apostle James the Greater and his subsequent entombment. The James legend begins with his martyrdom at the hands of Herod of Agrippa in AD 44, as recorded in the Bible’s book of

“Acts.” James’s Translatio from Jerusalem to Ira Flavia in Spain was recorded later, the earliest complete and formalized source being the 12th century Liber Sancti Jacobi, also known as the Codex Calixtinus (Melczer 29).2 According to Book II of the codex, James’s body was placed in a rudderless boat by his followers and divinely piloted to the northwestern coast of Spain where it was ensconced in stone. During some time in the course of the reign of Alfonso II of Asturias (789-840), James’s remains and relics were located by a sheep herder and a city was founded on the spot. Although decidedly Catholic in its origin, the Camino de Santiago is currently attracting a global, wide-ranging array of interfaith participants from over 140 countries; devout Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, Muslims, people who define themselves as “spiritual” (read not religious but not atheist), share a similar drive to enact pilgrimage on this particular route.3 The number of pilgrims on the route continues to increase: in 2007 alone, a full 27 new countries were represented on the Camino that had not been recorded in the year previous. The latest figures from the Archbishopric of Santiago show that the Cathedral at Santiago issued 114,026 Compostelas in 2007, up from 100,377 in 2006 (a 13.6% increase) and 93,924 (a 7% increase) in 2005. Figures 1 and 2 display the steeply rising trend of pilgrims receiving the Compostela from 1985 to 2004 (Archbishopric).4 Figure 2 best illustrates the overall trend by excluding the Holy Jubilee Years of 1993, 1999, and 2004.5 Even with these important religious years charted independently (Figure 3), there is a clear and steady increase in the number of pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago. Such a display of human mobility—of what Norwegian University of Science and Technology professor Erik Karlsaune calls “popular religiosity”—is ripe for academic inquiry. Of all the academic disciplines, anthropology is best equipped to conceptualize both the drive to perform pilgrimage and its enactment (1).6 However, given the

Rogers / Postmodernity and Pilgrimage on El Camino de Santiago


Pilgrims Receiving the Compostela by Year (1993, 1999, 2004 excluded)

120000 100000 80000 60000

# Pilgrims 40000 20000

87 19 88 19 89 19 90 19 91 19 92 19 94 19 95 19 96 19 97 19 98 20 00 20 01 20 02 20 03 20 05 20 06 20 07






Figure 1.  Pilgrims receiving the Compostela by year, excluding Holy Years. Data from Archbishopric of

Pilgrims Receiving the Compostela by Year Jubilee Years Included

200000 180000 160000 140000 120000 100000

# Pilgrims

80000 60000 40000 20000 2005 2006 2007

2003 2004




1998 1999


1995 1996

1993 1994



1989 1990

1987 1988



Figure 2.  Pilgrims receiving the Compostela, including Holy Years. Data from Archbishopric of Santiago.


New Horizons / April 2010

Pilgrims Receiving the Compostela During Three Jubilee Years










Figure 3.  Pilgrims receiving the Compostela during Holy Years. Data from Archbishopric of Santiago.

phenomenon’s complexity, it often sits at the intersection of multiple disciplines including (at the minimum) history, sociology, ritual studies, psychology, economics, politics, and literature.7 In the words of Sharon Roseman and Ellen Badone in their introduction to Intersecting Journeys: The Anthropology of Pilgrimage and Tourism (2004), “rigid dichotomies between pilgrimage and tourism, or pilgrims and tourists, no longer seem tenable in the shifting world of postmodern travel” (2). Observations of particular pilgrim practices taken from anthropological or ethnographic studies may inform one study, enrich another, but can rarely offer broadbased concepts that are universally applicable. For example, Victor Turner’s concept of pilgrimage as communitas—or the leveling of strict social structures as a result of shared experience—can be observed on the Camino de Santiago, but is not necessarily a fitting description of the pilgrim experience in Latin American spiritual pilgrimages (V. Turner 193).8 Recent scholarship which embraces the often uncomfortable intersection of numerous disciplines where pilgrimage sits is releasing “the necessity of attempting to fit all pilgrimage-related phenomena into a rigidly

preconceived theoretical framework” (Badone and Roseman 5).9 The prospect of establishing a methodological approach to contemporary pilgrimage, though it has been attempted by recent scholars like James Preston, becomes itself a postmodern challenge.10 It is possible and important, however, to conceive of a definition of what constitutes pilgrimage. Developing a definition requires the fusion of three components of the pilgrimexperience: first, the journey enacted by the pilgrim (either internally or externally) by physically moving one’s body from “here” to “there” (or both); second, the pilgrim’s own set of expectations about what can be gained from the journey, thus preparing the way; and finally the pilgrim’s identity, conditioned by society. Perhaps these elements of pilgrimage are what led scholar and filmmaker Alan Morinis to offer the following definition of pilgrimage in the introduction to the landmark volume Sacred Journeys: The Anthropology of Pilgrimage: “the pilgrimage is a journey undertaken by a person in quest of a place or a state that he or she believes to embody a valued ideal” (4). Morinis’s definition far from invokes the image of medieval pilgrims armed with walking staves, water gourds, and

Rogers / Postmodernity and Pilgrimage on El Camino de Santiago

religion, measuring the course of their journey in prostrated lengths of their bodies. Instead, it allows for applying the term “pilgrim” to the traditional image as well as to those who arrive at the sacred site by way of modern transportation. In this light, the boundaries between tourism and pilgrimage become increasingly blurred. Commenting on this permeability, the Turners wrote that “the tourist is half a pilgrim, if a pilgrim is half a tourist” (Image and Pilgrimage 20). This crossover has certainly led to an opening in the discourse of pilgrimage, especially as ethnographic studies show that visitors to Star Trek conventions, the Grand Canyon, and the World Trade Center Memorial have much more in common than not with pilgrims to religious epicenters such as Fatima, Lourdes, and the island of Shukoku.11 But even strictly within the discourse of pilgrims on the Camino, those who walk or bike are considered more authentic pilgrims—if not the only sojourners who can rightfully be called “pilgrims”—than those who arrive in Santiago by bus. In the anthropological study of pilgrimage, sorting out degrees of “pilgrim-ness” does little to serve our understanding of the phenomenon, so we return to Morinis’s definition: in our contemporary examination of pilgrimage, what distinguishes the tourist from the pilgrim— what creates pilgrimage—appears only to be a question of intention. To look into intention requires necessarily that we consider its counterpart, the desired outcome. By enacting pilgrimage, pilgrims move away from one thing—their society, their sociocultural context, the pain of a loss, for example, and towards another: “ideals enshrined in the pilgrimage places” (Morinis 6). This movement implies that pilgrimage, in part, arises out of a perceived gap in the composition of one’s being—or the journey would be unnecessary. The journey itself is required because the would-be pilgrim is somehow inhibited from merging with those ideals due to external or internal conditions, or both. In this way, the activity of pilgrimage can be seen as “a movement toward the Center,” which is perceived to be “the source of


religious merit, divine blessings, and ‘the inward transformation of spirit and personality’” (Cohen 51). As Victor Turner notes, such a conception of movement “can be interestingly related to [Arnold] van Gennep’s concept of the rite of passage” because it gives form to a dichotomous journey that exists both within the pilgrim and externally. There is, of course, a literal physical “spatial separation” between the pilgrim and the pilgrimage site but also a perceived inner distance between the individual “self” and the abstract (213). This strong emphasis on the journey breaks from Victor Turner’s claim that “pilgrimage center[s]” represent “a threshold” for a fundamental reason: arrival at Santiago de Compostela (the pilgrim center, in this case) does not, for most pilgrims, constitute the climax of a pilgrim’s experience. In fact, most pilgrims report feelings of depression, anxiety, and impatience in the kilometers closest to Santiago. Arrival at the cathedral, though it does inspire a brief period of elatedness of having “made it,” is largely anti-climactic. These are not the emotions of a pilgrim whose journey’s purpose is tied up in the “spiritual magnetism” of a fixed location (or the rituals performed at those locations) (Preston 33). Instead, these emotions are striking because of how near they seem to the tourist’s response at vacation’s end. This is not to say that even secular pilgrims do not find great solidarity and significance in attending the cathedral’s celebrated Pilgrim’s Mass or in pressing their foreheads to the statue of St. James. Yet, the journey itself always stands out as more alchemical than the destination. The Camino de Santiago is often referred to in short as simply “the Camino.” This is as much a term of convenience as it is a reflexive comment that mirrors the pilgrims’ intentions. The “Camino”—although consisting of seven separate routes within Spain and stretching thousands of kilometers throughout the rest of Europe—is taken as one whole, one experience. As we have seen, the Camino de Santiago attracts equally secular and religious pilgrims. Yet, I have doubts about how important the historical and cultural context of the Camino truly is to many contemporary pilgrims,


New Horizons / April 2010

particularly in their initial decision to perform the pilgrimage. To this end, pilgrimage appears more as a selected medium for a certain type of expression. As a result, twentieth-century folklorist Arnold van Gennep’s work very much informs our understanding of individual motives for enacting pilgrimage on the Camino. In Rites de Passage (1909), van Gennep conceptualized a theoretical framework through which to view change and transformation as universal phenomena. He noticed that movement through natural stages of life and social status is similar to the spatial movement of an individual across territorial boundaries of all kinds, what he termed “territorial passage” (22). This dynamic consists of a set of phases or rites that he called “preliminal rites…, liminal (or threshold rites)…, and post-liminal rites” (21). The crux of the transition—the actual crossing of the limen, the Latin root for threshold—is instrumental in shaping identity. The Turners saw the fittingness of liminality to pilgrimage in its ability to explain the transformative process that the pilgrim undergoes at the end of the journey (Turner and Turner 11), stating that pilgrimages are a “liminoid phenomenon” (35). When pilgrims, speaking of their motivations for enacting pilgrimage, say, “I want to change myself into a better person” or “to see whether I can stand this long way,” or that they are walking the Camino in preparation for “starting a new part of life,” they embody the voice of the initiate, seeking liminality. Using the Turners’ conception of pilgrimage, I would like to extend their argument by emphasizing that the liminal experience is not merely a byproduct of a pilgrim’s devotion but is precisely that which the contemporary pilgrim seeks. The prospect of solidifying identity within the contemporary context becomes less feasible by a lack of meaningful rites of passage by which an individual closes one phase of life and enters another. Finding few modes through which to form a stable identity in a postmodern society, the contemporary man or woman seeks pilgrimage as a mechanism for doing so. Performing pilgrimage, then, is a self-imposed rite of passage for the sake of identity as well

as what anthropologist Clifford Geertz calls a “metasocial commentary” on the pilgrim’s home society (qtd. in Turner and Turner 38). *** “Who was I? Today’s self, bewildered, Yesterday’s forgotten; tomorrow’s, unpredictable?” Jorge Luis Borges (qtd. in Harvey 41)

The renaissance of pilgrimage in the 1970s has its roots in the intersection of a multiplicity of social, spiritual, physical, intellectual, and political changes. The postwar era of the 1950s-1970s marked one of the greatest periods of turmoil in Western culture. Although the Cold War would never materialize into physical conflict, at the time it was a period of real and immediate danger, dramatically affecting the social consciousnesses of Europeans and Americans. Part response to Soviet Communism and part postwar reconstruction, the middle classes of Europe and the United States continued to expand enormously—one result of which was the “baby boom” of the period. Fed by continued technological modernization, the wealthier middle class would usher in an entirely new age of consumer culture, giving rise to a parallel social critique whose critics coined terms such as “mass consumption” and “consumerism.” The values of this new “materialist” culture appeared ambiguous, although consumerism was, in some ways, a democratic ideal. By 1969, a war foreign to the hearts and minds of most American citizens was being waged in Vietnam, shattering public trust in the wisdom of many of America’s philosophical and physical institutions—the Executive Branch and the universality of democracy, for example. At the same time, 1960s counter-culture was at its height and European and American societies were experiencing a dramatic openness. Practices of sexuality and social definitions for women, homosexuals, and minorities were breaking and reforming, and Eastern spirituality was entering into public discourse. Meanwhile, Continental thinkers who were in Europe at the time of the Second World War

Rogers / Postmodernity and Pilgrimage on El Camino de Santiago

like Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, and Jean-François Lyotard began publishing their ideas on language, power, and philosophy. In the philosophical and physical meanings of World War II, they saw the failures of “liberal democracies to achieve social justice” and the collapse of ideological powerhouses like Marxism as signaling a decline in the “Western philosophical tradition itself” (Drolet 3). To these Continental critics, the products of the reasoning mind of the Enlightenment tradition—with its belief that a social utopia could be constructed through reason alone— and what Jurgen Habermas called the modern project “to develop objective science, universal morality and law, and autonomous art according to…inner logic,” were the near destruction of Europe and the death of millions of civilians and military personnel (qtd. in Harvey 12). This particular war showed fully the fallout of competing universals. The response by philosophers of the period would be the development of a “new philosophical context” known as postmodernism (Drolet 38). If discovering and implementing universals in every aspect of human experience was the core of modernity, postmodernism is characterized by the embrace of pluralism—a byproduct of looking at the foundational suppositions of Western philosophy and deconstructing the very idea of the human “universal” (Harvey 51). In architecture, postmodernism would be manifest in designing for both men and women, rather than the modern “Man” (40). This context was seen as a wholly new period, replacing continuity with fragmentation, purpose with play, and rhetoric with semantics (Hassan 123). Postmodernism was distinguishable both in time and sensibility from the “modern,” yet operated within the same current of cultural and physical modernization. In this same turbulence—a potential war between the world’s two greatest ideologies, in the height of postmodern discourse, in the materialism of a wealthier West, and in the questioning of traditional social structures— anthropologists Victor and Edith Turner keyed into the resurgence of pilgrimage. At the time,


the Turners saw the phenomenon as largely religious, though they left open the possibility of increased secular pilgrimage. They attributed the pilgrimage to a kind of religious revival indicative of a widespread reaction to the drama and uncertainty of the 1970s. Although their understanding of the phenomenon was limited by its relative newness at the time, they pointed to the importance of identity during its enactment. Through pilgrimage, identity is shifted, reformed, and solidified primarily through two experiences: liminality and spontaneous communitas, both discussed above. Identity becomes such a vital question when discussing pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago because it seems to be a central concern of most contemporary pilgrims. Pilgrims often state that their motives are driven by the desire to “find themselves” or to develop a relationship with their “real selves.” Many pilgrims’ beliefs thus seem to center on a core “self”—an identity separate from the external, something more real and deep than the casual conception of identity that contemporary existence would appear to conceal. In many respects, pilgrimage becomes a mechanism for peeling away and shutting out layers of false identity and shut out discordant noise. We can trace the centrality of identity in contemporary pilgrimage directly to the postmodern philosophical deconstruction of the very cultural structures that help form individual identity. Jean-François Lyotard defines postmodernism as “incredulity towards meta-narratives,” or stories about a given society that the society continually tells itself (123). In Western culture, meta-narratives are imbedded in culturally held ideals that have been in decline since the 1960s—namely the nuclear family and white, masculine, and Christian values. Speaking of the condition of the family in 1995, therapists Steven Mills and Douglas Sprenkle intuited an explicit connection between the materialization of postmodernism and the dissolving of the traditional family: Gone for increasing numbers of people are the fixed standards that have historically divided right and wrong, decent from indecent, noble


New Horizons / April 2010

from savage. Family values, for increasing numbers of people, are less rooted in the sacred principles of the church and community than in the private mix of personal, situational beliefs. (368)

Postmodernity’s suspicion of “universal and ‘totalizing’” discourses is largely responsible for this climate (Harvey 9). It strips society of external correlatives by which individuals find and understand their relationships to others in social scenarios. On the one hand, for example, women who want to leave the household are no longer confined to secretarial work or to teaching grade school. On the other, “Something as dramatic as our identity,” states social theorist Barry Schwartz, “is now become a matter of choice. We don’t inherit an identity, we get to invent it. And we get to re-invent ourselves as often as we like. And that means that every day when you wake up in the morning, you have to decide what kind of person you want to be.” In this climate, Internet social groups become avenues for creating identity, but without the formative experience of liminality, leaving the identity ultimately meaningless. Changing or constantly updating pictures and personal information on social networking websites such as MySpace turns compulsive in a sort of desperate attempt to define and express oneself genuinely, though the medium remains uncompromisingly virtual. Online social networking not only passes for genuine interaction but also, uncommonly, replaces it. Similarly, “reality TV”—though frequently scripted—acts as a vicarious emotional substitute for face-to-face emotional engagement. By definition, there is something decidedly unreal about social interactions that are wholly virtual and remote. They reduce interpersonal bonds to aesthetic pleasure, making both definitions of the self and the other entirely self-referential—an act of creativity, selection, and exclusion (Bauman 33). As historian and social critic Christopher Lasch notes, this state in postmodern culture “has made deep and lasting friendships, love affairs and marriages increasingly difficult to achieve” (qtd. in Bauman 33). On Facebook—which has seen

a growth from 1 million users at its inception in 2004 to 200 million users in May of 2009 (“Statistics”)—we can collect our friends, catalogue them, promote them, or cut ties with them in an instant. Although contemporary hyper-connectivity has eliminated physical communicative distances, we have perhaps never been farther apart. Perhaps it is not surprising that pilgrimage has continued to grow in popularity, especially amongst people aged 19-35. At the time American anthropologist Nancy Frey finished her ethnographic study on the Camino in 1996, she noted that “the majority of pilgrims [were] urban, educated, and middle class,” 65% of which were men (29). In just over ten years, the composition of pilgrims has shifted dramatically; women now comprise 44% of the pilgrim population, up 10% from the decade before. In 2007, the plurality of participants constituted the age range 19-35, making up a full 35% of all recorded pilgrims (Archbishopric). Interestingly, this age group also constitutes the plurality (30%) of internet users (“U.S. Report”). To the individual living in the postmodern, hyper-connected condition highlighted above, pilgrimage is a way of establishing continuity in daily existence by self-imposing an experience that inherently induces reflection. This adds another layer of importance to the journey, as the sustained physical contact with the experience— represented in the road—is a central motive. At the same time, a type of fulfillment wholly different from the quotidian satisfaction of desires emerges from the measurable attainment of progress. The credencial del peregrino (the pilgrim’s passport required for gaining entry into albergues) becomes a point of pride that usurps, at least for the moment, college diplomas and figures in bank accounts (Figure 4).12 Each inky stamp signifies a continuous accumulation of miles requiring real, physical passage through space and time. As much as pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago is a deeply personal experience, it is also an opportunity for “the direct, immediate, and total confrontation of human identities” (V. Turner 193). Pilgrims oscillate between periods

Rogers / Postmodernity and Pilgrimage on El Camino de Santiago


Figure 4.  A pilgrim’s credencial with stamps received from albergues, restaurants, waypoints, and café-bars.

of individual isolation while walking during the day and collective decompression while resting in the evenings, yet always within an introspective environment. Restaurants in towns that are traditional overnight pilgrim stops are usually equipped with a few tables and a bar in one room, and an enormous community dining room (comedor) in another. Family dining on long tables with wooden benches is the norm. This kind of interaction rests in direct opposition to the transience of postmodern relationships— making space for authenticity and a sense of connection between pilgrims. Regardless of age, sex, or race, the pilgrimage on the Camino proves to be a difficult experience during which individuals can find real common ground. *** Pilgrimage satisfies the desire for an unfettered, unfiltered contact with the demanding immediacy of present experience— an increasingly irregular occurrence. Walking the Camino is a mere act of exercise until done with intention, at which point it transforms into pilgrimage. The spark of that

intention arises out of the tension between the individual and his society, a space that seems especially volatile in the postmodern world. On pilgrimage, though the physical route is fixed, the individual has an enormous role in shaping her own experience. In its inception— if we can conceive of such a thing—pilgrimage was, to return to Karlsaune’s scholarship, always “religion from below”—the original grassroots movement (1). Though religion is layered upon pilgrimage, the experience seems always to return squarely to its source in the human being seeking meaning. And though this impulse often overwhelms theoretical frameworks and baffles methodologies, it is vitally important to attempt to understand. As an observable enactment of one aspect of the human condition, participation in and study of pilgrimage provide significant insight into how external circumstances shape the motives of human life. As we grapple with ways to discover meaning and to solidify identity in the Western postmodern culture, pilgrimage surfaces as one, albeit unconventional, instrument for pulling together those fragments.


New Horizons / April 2010


A similar question has been posed by Nancy Frey in her book Pilgrim Stories: On and Off the Road to Santiago (1998). She phrases the question as such: “What are modern pilgrims saying about the world by walking and cycling?” (16). Frey does little to concretely describe what particular situations of contemporary life pilgrims are reacting against. As I discuss later in the paper, at the time Frey conducted her study, “the majority of pilgrims [were] urban, educated, and middle class” (29). I build on her already comprehensive research by updating our understanding of pilgrims’ motives in the age of social networking, a post 9/11 West, and a global financial crisis. 2 During the last one hundred years, much research has emerged on the Codex Calixtinus and earlier manuscripts that inform it, other sources that describe the life and works of James and the apostolic tradition in the Iberian Peninsula, as well as sufficient argument and evidence necessary to disprove the greatly embellished and fragmentary account of the James Legend. For a discussion that provides sufficient evidence that the apostle’s body is not, in fact, buried at Santiago de Compostela, see Jan van Herwaarden (1980). Van Herwaarden states himself that his purpose in pursuing such scholarship was not to affect the flow of pilgrims to Compostela in any way. Speaking of the James Legend, he says “[It is] a legend which may possibly be based on falsehood, but which has obtained more real power thereby than ever could have been provided by truth. Proof that St. James the Great is not buried in Spain would not deter a single pilgrim” (3). 3 The Camino may be Catholic in origin, but the pilgrimage route was not, at first, sponsored by the church. Like many pilgrimage routes, interest in this pilgrimage was formed from the “bottom up.” Sociology professor Erik Karlsaune of NTNU writes pilgrimage is “genuinely an outcome of popular religiosity. It is religion from below. Religious authorities or experts have not created the human phenomenon of pilgrimage. But the elite group of a religion can use it as a means for execution of power… [It is an] anthropological phenomenon” (Karlsaune 1).   I experienced this diversity of pilgrims myself, as well, when I walked the Camino. Although I did not encounter them directly, I heard several pilgrims speak of two Muslim women who walked the Camino for 10 days in June 2009. During the course of my pilgrimage in Spain, I also met, photographed, and collected a statement from a Buddhist Monk from Germany. 4 While every pilgrim’s office and albergue are required to keep records of the pilgrims who pass through their doors, accurate statistics on the actual number of pilgrims who walk the St. James Way during the course of a year are impossible to maintain. Unlike seasonal religious pilgrimages that have a clearly demarcated beginning and end—the Muslim Hajj, for example—on the Camino the same are entirely up to the pilgrim’s individual discretion. In addition, many pilgrims walk the Camino in stages, beginning the journey one year and 1

receiving the Compostela—the church-issued certificate of completion—years later. Many pilgrims do not complete the pilgrimage due to medical issues. And to add an additional layer of complexity, thousands more walk only the final required 100 kilometers to Santiago in order to receive the Compostela. Thus, when the Archbishopric of Santiago releases its figures on the number of pilgrims in a given month or year based on the number of Compostelas issued, we can be sure that the actual number of pilgrims who walked, biked, or rode on horseback the Camino de Santiago was far greater. Even so, these figures—especially with regards to the steeply rising number of pilgrims— indicate a dramatic phenomenon. 5 A Year of Holy Jubilee is any year in which the 25th of July, the Feast of Saint James, falls on a Sunday. The next Holy Jubilee Year will be in 2010. 6 The study of pilgrimage as an anthropological phenomenon is relatively new, beginning primarily with the work of the Turners in Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture (1978). Following the Turners’ work, Alan Morinis assembled and edited a collection of essays from several colleagues following the conference “Pilgrimage: the Human Quest” in May 1981. The essays were published in 1992 in a volume titled Sacred Journeys: The Anthropology of Pilgrimage. For a summary and forward-looking discussion on the relationship between anthropology and pilgrimage, see Turnbull, Colin, “Anthropology as Pilgrimage” in Morinis, 1992. 7 Primary texts and travelogues such as Basho’s The Narrow Road to Deep North and Other Travel Sketches significantly shape shared ideas about what constitutes pilgrimage. They can also help form an understanding about the vital role of popular culture in shaping the often adventurous romantic notions about travel in general. These ideas about the power of the journey shape motives as equally as external circumstances. For a cultural analysis of literature’s effect on pilgrimage, see Thomas Rimer’s Pilgrimages: Aspects of Japanese Literature and Culture. 8 See the collection of essays titled Pilgrimage in Latin America (1991) by Morinis and Crumrine. 9 The short history of the anthropological study of pilgrimage has yet to yield a universal theory of its enactment. Some theories fit in certain situations and not in others. The more ethnographers and anthropologists attempt to categorize and define pilgrimage, the more elusive it becomes. For further discussion on sacred journeys, the anthropology of tourism, and a number of different approaches to studying pilgrimage, see Smith, 1992; Eade and Sallnow, 1991; Morinis, 1992; Coleman and Elsner, 1995; Dubisch, 1995. 10 In his essay “Spiritual Magnetism: An Organizing Principle for the Study of Pilgimage,” Preston proposes that “the drawing power of the sacred center” or a shrine’s “spiritual magnetism” can offer this methodological approach. His theory unwinds, however, when applied to pilgrimages like the Camino where the journey, rather than the destination, is the purpose of the experience.

Rogers / Postmodernity and Pilgrimage on El Camino de Santiago

For a compelling argument about how attendance at a Star Trek convention qualifies as pilgrimage, see Jennifer Porter’s article titled “Pilgrimage and the IDIC: Exploring Star Trek Convention Attendance as Pilgrimage” in Intersecting Journeys: The Anthropology of Pilgrimage and Tourism (2004). 12 Albergues are pilgrim-only hostels. They are located in most towns along the pilgrimage route and offer pilgrims a place to sleep and wash for the night. 11

Acknowledgements Another summer, deeper down the rabbit hole. My unconditional thanks goes out to the Jackson-Hope Fund donors who, with their continued patronage, make meaningful and formative research experiences possible. Thanks to the peregrinos whose courage and humanity are the reason for this project. I did not walk the Camino alone. For those who shared the experience with me physically, emotionally, in conversation, and in silence, you will always know. A friendship and mentorship continued and grew this summer that was solidified the year before. I am ever thankful for Dr. Rob McDonald and his bottomless reservoirs of energy, patience, and guidance. Thanks to him, I seem to grow in spite of myself.

Works Cited Archbishopric of Santiago. “Pilgrims Classification: 2006-2007.” Archidiócesis de Santiago de Compostela. 2009. Web. 5 Feb. 2010. Bauman, Zygmunt. “From Pilgrim to Tourist— or a Short History of Identity.” Questions of Cultural Identity. Ed. Stuart Hall and Paul du Gay. London: Sage, 1996. Cohen, Erik. “Pilgrimage and Tourism.” Sacred Journeys: The Anthropology of Pilgrimage. Ed. Alan Morinis. Westport: Greenwood, 1992. 47-61. Coles, Robert. Doing Documentary Work. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1997. Drolet, Michael. The Postmodernism Reader. London: Routledge, 2004. Frey, Nancy Louis. Pilgrim Stories: On and Off the Road to Santiago. Los Angeles: U of California P, 1998. van Gennep, Arnold. Rites de Passage. 1908. Trans. Monika B. Vizedom and Gabrielle L. Caffee. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1960.


Giuriati, Don Paolo and Erik Karlsaune. Shrines and Peregrinations in the Catholic Church Today: Comparative Analysis and Methodological Considerations. Norwegian University of Science and Technology 2000. Web. 27 Feb. 2010. Harvey, David. The Condition of Postmodernity. Oxford: Blackwell, 1989. Hassan, Ihab. “The Culture of Postmodernism.” Theory, Culture, and Society 2 (1985): 119-31. van Herwaarden, Jan. “The Origins of the Cult of St. James of Compostela.” Journal of Medieval History 6 (1980): 1-35. Karlsaune, Erik. Secular Protestants—and Pilgrims? Norwegian University of Science and Technology. 2002. Web. 5 Feb. 2010. Melczer, William. The Pilgrims Guide to Santiago de Compostela. New York: Italica, 1993. Mills, Steven D. and Douglas H. Sprenkle. “Family Therapy in the Postmodern Era.” Family Relations 44 (1995): 368-76. Morinis, Alan, ed. Sacred Journeys: The Anthropology of Pilgrimage. London: Greenwood, 1992. Roseman, Ellen and Sharon Roseman, eds. Intersecting Journeys: The Anthropology of Pilgrimage and Tourism. Chicago: U of Illinois P, 2004. “Statistics.” Facebook. 2009. Web. 5 Feb. 2010. Turner, Victor and Edith Turner. Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture. New York: Columbia UP, 1978. Turner, Victor. “The Center Out There: Pilgrim’s Goal.” History of Religions 12.3 (1973): 191230. Preston, James. “Spiritual Magnetism: An Organizing Principle for the Study of Pilgrimage.” Sacred Journeys: The Anthropology of Pilgrimage. Ed. Alan Morinis. London: Greenwood P, 1992. 31-46. “U.S. Report: Internet Usage by Age.” PSFK. Web. 27 Feb. 2010. Schwartz, Barry. “On the Paradox of Choice.” Lecture. TED Conferences. July 2005. Web. 5 Feb. 2010.

Works Referenced Basho. The Narrow Road to Deep North and Other Travel Sketches. Trans. Yuasa Nobuyuki. London: Penguin, 1966. Bauman, Zygmunt. Liquid Modernity. Malden: Polity, 2000. Bell, Catherine. Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions. New York: Oxford UP, 1997.


New Horizons / April 2010

Coleman, Simon and John Eade, eds. Reframing Pilgrimage: Cultures in Motion. London: Routeledge, 2004. Crumrine, N. Ross and Alan Morinis, eds. Pilgrimage in Latin American. New York: Greenwood , 1991. Dunn, Maryjane and Linda Davidson, eds. The Pilgrimage to Compostela in the Middle Ages. New York: Garland, 1996. Eliade, Mircea. Rites and Symbols of Initiation: The Mysteries of Birth and Rebirth. Trans. Willard Trask. New York: Harper, 1958. Feinberg, Ellen Okner. Strangers and Pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago in Spain: The Perpetuation and Recreation of Meaningful Performance. U Microfilms International, Ann Arbor, 1985. Grimes, Ronald. Deeply Into the Bone: Reinventing Rites of Passage. Berkeley: U of California P, 2000. James, Frederic. Postmodernism, Or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Durham: Duke UP, 2001. Jung, Carl G. Modern Man in Search of A Soul. New York: Harcourt, 1936.

LaFluer, William. “Points of Departure: Comments on Religious Pilgrimage in Sri Lanka and Japan.” The Journal of Asian Studies 38.2 (1979): 271-81. Leed, Eric. The Mind of the Traveler: From Gilgamesh to Global Tourism. New York: Basic, 1991. Otto, Rudolf. The Idea of the Holy. Trans. John W. Harvey. New York: Oxford UP, 1958. Pedersen, Noralv. “The Modern Pilgrim.” Gemini. Norwegian University of Science and Tehcnology. 2001. Web. 5 February 2010. Reader, Ian. Making Pilgrimages: Meaning and Practice in Shikoku. Honolulu: U of Hawaii P, 2005. Reader, Ian and J. A. Walter, eds. Pilgrimage in Popular Culture. New York: Palgrave, 1992. Rimer, J. Thomas. Pilgrimages: Aspects of Japanese Culture and Literature. Honolulu: U of Hawaii P, 1988. Swatos, William H. Jr., and Luigi Tomasi. From Medieval Pilgrimage to Religious Tourism: The Social and Cultural Economics of Piety. Westport: Praeger, 2002. Turner, Victor. The Ritual Process. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1966.

New Horizons  u  Volume 4  u  Number 1  u  2010

Defense of the Dominican Military? An Examination of the Dominican Military’s Role in its Present Society and the Case for Disbandment Cadet Saif A. Vazquez Faculty Mentor: Dr. Richard Kilroy, Professor of International Studies and Political Science ABSTRACT For the last four decades, the Dominican Republic has been transitioning from a traditional society to a modern one. In the traditional society, the military has been the bastion of power, but as the nation modernizes and adopts more liberal thoughts, the military is increasingly coming under scrutiny due to its active role in politics and due to allegations of human right abuses and corruption within the armed forces. Indeed, the absence of a clear enemy and a cessation of border disputes have called into question the need for a military at all. Today, many Latin American militaries are undergoing significant changes such as the acceptance of women and the expansion of women’s roles into the military, modernization and professionalization, and the shift towards multi-national actions. At the same time, these militaries have been trying to change the people’s perception of the past. The thesis offered in this essay is that the Dominican military must either: change and adapt to a progressively more modern and liberal democratic society in which its power will no longer be absolute or potentially face the prospect of disbandment (as was done in other countries in Central America) by force or sheer necessity.

been expanded to provide humanitarian aid during emergencies and natural disasters as well as aiding other domestic and international defense institutions in fighting intraregional organizations that traffic drugs, people, and arms. Unfortunately, the corruptive nature and human rights abuses of the armed forces impede their own effectiveness and are a



he military has always had a powerful position in the Dominican Republic. In the post-Cold War world era, the infrequency of war has put in question the need for a traditional military, particularly for small nations. The role of the military today has 39


New Horizons / April 2010

harmful influence to the young democratic institutions of the country. During the summer of 2009, I went to the Dominican Republic to obtain primary source information on the issues of abuse and corruption in the armed forces. I also looked at past and present reforms to modernize and professionalize these institutions and examined how political and economic issues have hindered such transitions. This paper examines two of the major problems that require the commitment of military components in the Dominican Republic: the drug trade and the illegal Haitian immigration. Secondly, it describes how the disestablishment of the military in Costa Rica was possible, but does not serve as an appropriate model for the Dominican Republic.

The Defense Institutions The Dominican Republic has four major independent defense institutions (the National Police, National Army, Navy, and Dominican Air Force) and one dependent defense institution (the National District of Drug Control). The National Police (PN) is the largest of these institutions with 35,000 personnel, and its governance falls under the Secretary of State of the Interior and Police. The PN provides a variety of functions and services to the Dominican people. It is often regarded as the most corrupt and abusive of the defense institutions and is by far the least respected. The PN was used by Rafael Trujillo and Joaquin Balaguer1 to repress and eliminate enemies, leaving a dreaded image of the institution. This poor reputation has worsened with regular incidents of bribery, police brutality, and relations to the drug trade (Luis Alberto Humeau, Geopolítica). The military is responsible for providing external security and support to the PN. The three major independent military branches are the National Army (EN), Navy (MG), and Air Force (FAD). The enlisted or commissioned personnel in these military branches, like the officers in the PN, must give up certain rights entitled to citizens, most importantly the right

to vote. Article 93 of the Constitution states, “The Armed Forces are essentially obedient and apolitical and have no, in any case, ability to lead….” (Ejército Nacional).2 The EN is composed of approximately 25,000 personnel, and the MG is composed of 5,100 personnel; each organization conducts operations to enforce migration laws, customs regulations, and anti-drug operations; to combat terrorism, to provide environmental protection and humanitarian assistance during natural disasters; and to support the PN in maintaining public order via land or sea (Ejército Nacional 2008). The FAD is composed of approximately 5,000 personnel and is the least respected of the military branches because of its perceived uselessness. Both the PN and the armed forces perform civic actions throughout the nation. The armed forces support various programs to help develop and provide health assistance to civilian populations. Civic actions include: cartographic projects; technical skill education for mechanical work; education for nursing and dentistry; conserving and planting forests; transporting food and supplies to disaster areas; and building houses, schools, and infrastructure projects (Miguel Ángel Cordero 155-71). Within the last two decades, the government also formed specialized institutions that provide support to the PN and military forces, overseen by the Secretary of State of the Armed Forces (Secretaria de las Fuerzas Armadas Dominicanas). The National District of Drug Control (DNCD) serves as the central agency for all matters involving drug trafficking (Brea Cruz 38). Three smaller institutions that provide security for land, sea, and aerial ports were formed in 1997 and 2007. These are the Specialized Corps for Frontier, Airport, and Port Security. These institutions recruit personnel from the military and PN (Secretaria de las Fuerzas Armadas Dominicanas 32).

Professionalism According to Samuel Huntington3, the characteristics that make up a professional

Vazquez / Defense of the Dominican Military?

military are: loyalty to democratic institutions; obedience to authorities of a modern state; technical competence and experience to accomplish the services assigned by law; and political neutrality (qtd. in Soto Jiménez 245). Judging by these characteristics, the Dominican armed forces (FF.AA.) are technically a professional military according to their doctrines. The FF.AA. have remained loyal to democratic institutions after the 1965 civil war, been obedient to the democratically-elected presidents, and have the technical competence to accomplish their duties prescribed by law. However, the military’s partisanship is a clear violation of Huntington’s values. The military and police are constitutionally prohibited from having the right to vote and are supposed to remain apolitical, but this is not the case. Delinquency and corruption by members of the police and military institutions are also rampant, although this is probably due to poor economic conditions and a culture of corruption seen in many developing nations. Frequent abuses by members of the defense institutions include vehicle thievery, smuggling of illegal immigrants, committing homicides, and drug-related charges (“Denuncia el aumento de delitos violentos en Républica Dominicana en 2008”). During the last few years there has been an increase in public criticism of the defense institutions because of active news reporters exposing these abuses. In 2009, the news reported that a FAD Major, along with eleven other people, broke into a Parmalat factory and stole approximately US$8,000 (“Poder justicial”). Recently, the MG (the most respected of the defense institutions) has come under fire for suspected drug-related activities, after a report exposed the MG’s participation in killing seven Colombian drug traffickers in an apparent “settling of scores” and smuggling people to Puerto Rico (Jiménez). When numerous military and police personnel are implicated in such actions, there are “purges” of hundreds of officers and enlisted personnel at a time. However, most of these “purges” consist of allowing the personnel to retire, with pensions, and do not lead to trial.


The lack of a truly independent judiciary system and an internal affairs investigation institution, such as the American FBI, represents one of the most difficult hurdles today in reforming the defense institutions. The 2008 case of “Guayabin Massacre” demonstrates the laxity of the current military judicial system (Organization of American States). In this case, checkpoint soldiers near Dajabón, a border town, opened fire on a truck that did not stop. The truck ran off the road and seven people died and 14 others were wounded. The soldiers were summoned to court four times, but they never showed up and were not brought to justice (Organization of American States). Military personnel and politicians get away with crimes in many Latin American nations. Police and military personnel have traditionally been used by authoritarian rulers to suppress the population, and have committed crimes without punishment. This tradition has carried on into modern Latin America today. The reason why the Dominican defense forces are so abusive and corrupt is partly based on the nation’s own unstable history. Since the 19th century, multiple defense institutions have been created and disbanded, and therefore they have been left with no clear identity. After the wars with Haiti, these forces were primarily used as repressive instruments by different dictators as well as the Haitian and United States governments.

20 Year Reform In 2002, the Armed Forces Reform and Modernization Committee was established to reform and modernize the FF.AA. over a 20 year period (Soto Jiménez xiv). One of the main goals of this program is to formally establish both a new national strategy and a new mentality for the military (10). The introduction to the reform document references heavily Richard L. Millet and Michael Gold-Bliss’s “Beyond Praetorianism,” an essay that analyzes the contemporary transition that Latin American militaries are currently undergoing. For most


New Horizons / April 2010

of the region’s history, the military used excessive force to maintain order, a tradition no longer considered acceptable in the young democracies of Latin America. The project’s researchers acknowledge that the Dominican military still maintains that outdated mentality and is in dire need of change. They stress that the drug trade, the nation’s biggest threat, cannot be fought with the current system (qtd. in Soto Jiménez, Seguridad 42). In particular, the reform proposals aim to upgrade equipment; reorganize command structure; nurture a modern military mentality for its recruits; invest in academics to improve leadership; develop a strictly defensive, highly mobile force with a flexible structure and joint-action capability able to react quickly to dynamic and unpredictable threats; and change the public’s perception of the armed forces (Eulalio C. Peralta Fernández xxv-xxvi). In interviews with Lt. Col. Peralta (whose father is part of the committee) and Lt. Col. Vargas, I asked them to evaluate the program’s progress. They were sent by the EN to provide help for this paper; both of them are currently on staff at higher military education institutions for the EN. Lt. Col. Vargas stated that the project started out really slowly and has only recently begun to move forward. He felt optimistic but worried about the program’s fate given the current economy. Lt. Col. Peralta was also optimistic but was unconcerned about the economy. He stated that the most important part of the project is stressing education for the enlisted personnel and commissioned officers. This is a major point of the reform project and has resulted in the construction of higher education institutions with new scholarly works written by FF.AA. personnel. The PN is also part of this reform system, although it is being administered independently from the military. From 2002-2004 the initial reforms were very promising. The PN Chief, Jaime Marte Martínez, was very serious about the program and pushed for many reforms. Unfortunately, he was removed from his post because of politics, and was replaced by Major General Pérez Sánchez, a supporter of the newly-elected president Leonel Fernández.

As with the military, a key tool to modernizing and professionalizing the PN is the education of its personnel, who have traditionally been recruited from people outside the capital and of poorer economic means. The University of the Dominican National Police was built to provide education to the administrative and managing components of the PN (Polícia Nacional 18). A minimum of 20 years served in the force and a bachelor’s degree from a university were also made pre-requisites for the National Police Chief position (20). In order to change the mentality and the image of the PN, humanitarian aid has been revamped in the rural areas to help with disputes, drug use prevention, and distribution of food, tools, and trees (29–30). From 2002 to 2004, 339,969 people received help from this branch. Many cadets and officers have been sent to modern democratic countries to learn how to combat the corrupting traditions (Policía Nacional 49). Another key element of this reform was the improvement of the police employees’ quality of life, including compensation for retirement, life insurance, and programs and assemblies for their families (18).

Drug Trafficking Even though the Dominican Republic does not produce illegal drugs (save limited quantities of marijuana), its geographical position serves as a launch pad for drugs from South America to the United States and Europe (Brea Cruz 38). It is located directly north of Colombia, the primary cocaine producer, and Venezuela, headed by the anti-American Hugo Chavez; it is east of Jamaica, a marijuana producer; it shares a border of almost 400 kilometers with Haiti, an unstable nation; and it is located 130 kilometers from Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory. Drugs transported to Puerto Rico are transferred to the United States more easily as they do not go through the same international customs procedures. The growth and development of the tourism industry in the Caribbean has served as a catalyst for drug distribution and consumption and has increased internal connections for the United

Vazquez / Defense of the Dominican Military?

States and Europe (Humeau, Geopolítica 120). The Dominican Republic itself has a large drug-consuming population estimated to number 200,000 to 300,000 in 2006 (Brea Cruz 24). Drug consumption is a serious problem in Dominican society and is directly related to an increase of criminal activity (2526). As of 2009, seventy-one percent of criminal activity was linked to drug trafficking (Aristy Capitán). The principal drug trafficking organizations come from Colombia. Thirty percent of cocaine produced in Colombia transits through the island of Hispaniola4 and is the most trafficked drug in the Dominican Republic. Approximately 1015% of cocaine delivered to the United States transits through the island of Hispaniola (Cruz). Nationals from different nations then serve as the primary transporters, mostly using fast boats. The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico have traditionally served as the favored routes for drug traffickers, as they share the same language as their distributors. In the last few years, however, Colombians have increasingly depended on Haiti, where they have established command centers for their Caribbean operations. From these bases, primarily Dominicans and Haitians transport drugs into the Dominican Republic from Haiti, Colombia, and Venezuela (Martínez Henríquez 32). Drugs transit by air, sea, and land to and from the Dominican Republic, requiring the response of all Dominican defense institutions as well as international cooperation. One of the most successful responses to the curtailment of the drug trade is the operations conducted at airports that result in the detainment of hundreds of drug mules from dozens of nations each year and the confiscation of hundreds of kilograms of different drugs (Distrito Nacional de Control de Drogas [DNCD] Aeropuerto Internacional Las Américas). This coordination of efforts has reduced the use of international airlines by drug traffickers to less than twenty percent of the transportation methods available (Humeau, Geopolítica, 120). As a result, one of the preferred tactics used by drug traffickers is cargo bombarding.


Drug traffickers fly aircraft from Colombia and bombard the coastal and rural areas with drugs, which are then picked up by their agents. On average there are 319 undetected illicit flights into the Dominican Republic each year with the capability to transport over a million pounds of cocaine (Martínez Henríquez 24). Lt. Col. Peralta said that the nation is unable to counteract cargo bombarding effectively due to the lack of radars and fast aircraft. The FAD, if properly equipped, could prove very effective. Recently eight EMB 314 Super Tucanos (Brazilian-made light aircraft) have been ordered to intercept the drug traffickers and there are also plans to procure the necessary radar to detect them (Lancer, “Leonel Fernández”). Despite the hard work and achievements of local and international soldiers, police officers, and agents, the drug trade continues strong in the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean. The lack of transparency and low wages result in corruption from the institutions that are supposed to fight the drug traffic, stymieing their best efforts and completely destroying their credibility. A popular perception in the Dominican Republic maintains there is one colonel for each illegal drug. Many rumors and speculations regarding police, military personnel, and politicians’ involvement with drugs exist. Statistical evidence and conclusive facts, however, are hard to find.

Haitian Factor The political and economic conditions of Haiti have forced masses of its citizens to escape and seek a better life in the Dominican Republic. Illegal immigration is the primary issue of contention between the two nations (Corcino Polanco 67). This issue is not very different from the illegal immigration issue in the United States. In a short conversation with Lt. Col. Peralta, EN, I asked him if the EN was in charge of the border. He responded, “Theoretically, yes,” but actually it is the duty of CESFRONT, a body recently created directly under the Secretary of Defense to deal with the Haitian border


New Horizons / April 2010

and the illegal immigration problems. The CESFRONT was created in 2007 to watch over the check-points with Haiti (Secretaria de las Fuerzas Armadas Dominicanas). Like the DNCD, the CESFRONT is composed of members of the military and the PN, currently numbered at approximately 500 personnel (Secretaria de las Fuerzas Armadas Dominicanas, 2009). The CESFRONT works closely with the Migration Directory, which detains illegal Haitians throughout the country and deports them. The CESFRONT, however, is made up of only lightly-armed sentries from the other defense institutions. There are many Haitians, Jamaicans, and Dominicans who enter the country with contraband such as weapons and drugs that are dealt with by special units from the DNCD, EN, and PN in joint-operations that are carried out almost daily. From 2000-2004, there were on average 239.6 operations per year to combat drug and weapons traffickers. About a third of these operations involved drugs that were transferred across the border (Policía Nacional 106). In my interview with Professor Cruz, Professor of History (emeritus) of the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, he stated that in the last few years there has been an escalation of violence and criminal activity from Haitians in retaliation for being abused by Dominicans. Since the 2004 revolt in Haiti, Haitians entering the country have become more belligerent because of the Haitian National Liberation Front’s influence. The National Liberation Front is very antiDominican and has been known to spread anti-Dominican flyers calling for violence and claiming the entire island as Haitian (NotiCen: Central American & Caribbean Affairs, 2004). In the last few years, there have been more reports in the local media about crimes against and committed by Haitians in the Dominican Republic, though there isn’t any statistical evidence of this increase. When I first arrived in the country, there was a commotion after a mob lynched a Haitian in the town of Herrera in retaliation for the decapitation of a Dominican the day before—events that were

officially condemned by both nations (Nicolás). Yet this sort of incident is not uncommon. Illegal Haitian immigration is also a health concern for the Dominican Republic. Haiti lacks in the resources to provide its people with necessary medical care. As a result, most illegal Haitians lack knowledge of infectious diseases and therefore pose a health hazard that creates a burden on the Dominican public health administration; these illegal immigrants are believed to receive as high as thirty percent of public health benefits. The Dominican Health Minister has stated that their presence “constitutes a load on the national sanitary sector, and diseases like malaria, HIV, dengue fever and other contagious diseases are a threat for the high number of Haitian migrants in the country” (Rojas Agramonte 42).

Military Threat Haiti no longer has a military; the military was disbanded in 1994 by President JeanBertrand Aristide and replaced by a national police force. Aristide—viewed as Haiti’s best chance for democracy—became President of Haiti in 1991, but was removed from power by the Haitian military and later reinstated by the United States military in 1994 (Regan). He was once again removed from office in 2004, which has left the country in turmoil— forcing an intervention by the United Nations peacekeeping forces. Aristide’s government crumbled in the face of two hundred paramilitary from the National Liberation Front, which was composed of Haitian ex-military personnel (GlobalSecurity. org). The poorly equipped, poorly trained National Police installed after Aristide’s return in 1994 were completely helpless (Regan). The events leading up to the 2004 crisis in Haiti constituted a severe blow to the already strained relations between the Dominican Republic and Haiti—creating an even greater sense of tension for both populations. Some believe that the Dominican Republic and the United States played a role in the 2004 coup, in Aristide’s kidnapping, and in harboring the leaders of the rebels. Prior to the rebellion,

Vazquez / Defense of the Dominican Military?

small skirmishes took place between the borders resulting in the deaths of two Dominican military personnel and four Haitian commandos (

Socio-Political and Economic Factors Since 1961, the fledgling democracy in the Dominican Republic has in large part only functioned in formalities such as elections, free speech, political parties, and organizations. The actual practice of democracy is plagued with a variety of characteristics that hamper the political representation and economic stability of the country (Hartlyn 13). Some characteristics that comprise the political tradition in Latin America are authoritarianism, elitism, and clientelism (Wiarda and Kline 233). All of these qualities are present in contemporary Dominican society. The era of caudillos, dictators, and authoritarian governors serves as the model for Dominican politics today (Soto Jimenez 240). Dictators’ usual policy of “winner takes all” does not lend itself to negotiation and compromise with the opposition—a characteristic that has transferred itself to all of the public and private institutions (241). The quality of clientelism is clearly present in the Dominican Republic as in the previouslymentioned example of Major General Marte Martínez. Instead of awarding positions on merit, practitioners of clientelism confer status and titles to supporters and friends. Heads of Dominican defense institutions and other government departments remain for two to three years regardless of their competence. The military and police are not apolitical as the constitution demands and never have been. Generals and admirals typically have their wives and relatives campaign for and contribute to the fundraising efforts of presidential candidates they believe will win. Because of their political affiliations, select families fill many civilian and military departments, and new positions are often added to accommodate more family members. This system of favoritism obviously impedes the improvement of the defense


institutions and the nation, as leadership is not based on merit, competence, and preparation but rather on connections. The administration of Leonel Fernández was first elected into office as a result of a political agreement between the leaders of the two most powerful parties, Joaquin Balaguer and Juan Bosch, to prevent Peña Gómez from winning in 1997. His administration has enacted neo-liberal policies that have strengthened the tourism sector and increased the nation’s annual economic growth. Since the 1990’s, the Dominican Republic has experienced high economic growth, on an average of 7% annually. Between 2004 and 2007 the economy grew an average of 9.5% each year (Banco Central de la Republica Dominicana). Much of this growth is credited to the neo-liberal economic policies of Balaguer’s last term in office, but these policies were continued by his successor Leonel Fernández. However, as Steven Gregory (2007) describes in The Devil Behind the Mirror: Globalization and Politics in the Dominican Republic, the effects of such policies have helped very few people rise from poverty, and in most cases have actually increased the economic disparity. Most politicians get paid at least US$5,500 a month and can receive as much as US$55,000 a month including expenses for housing and transportation (Miller). In contrast, the average Dominican family earns about US$356 a month, with several members of the family working (“Dominican Republic Country Brief”). A sergeant major, the second highest enlisted rank in the PN, earns US$150, which is the same wage a domestic worker earns. Engineers, doctors, and lawyers can earn about US$1,300 per month, nine times that of an experienced enlisted policeman. The biggest problem lies in the lack of accountability and transparency in the government, which has allowed rampant corruption. The most infamous example of this lack of accountability and outright corruption is the energy situation, a problem that has existed since Balaguer’s twelve-year


New Horizons / April 2010

term in the 1970’s. The country experiences blackouts approximately one to three times a day for a range of hours depending on the region. On different occasions, Japan and the Netherlands have offered solutions to provide energy to the entire country through wind energy in the western part of the nation or a nuclear plant, both at subsidized prices. The Dominican politicians, however, have always rejected these proposals and have instead favored the current deals with the energy corporations. Due to their antiquated and inefficient equipment, Dominican energy companies can neither provide enough energy to the population nor gain profits. The politicians accepted a bribe and agreed to pay these companies even if they do not provide service (Gregory 14). In the study Barómetro de las Américas 2008, 74% of Dominicans responded that they believe corruption is a great problem. The perception of legitimacy in public institutions was 45%, one of the highest in Latin America, which reflects a lack of confidence in the public institutions. The perception of insecurity due to criminal activity decreased from 79% to 59%. However, lack of confidence in the PN increased from 30% to 42%. The PN and political parties remain the most distrusted institutions in the country. This lack of faith in government institutions follows a trend seen throughout Latin America: a loss of confidence in the legitimacy of contemporary democracies (qtd. in “Denuncia el aumento de delitos violentos en República Dominicana en 2008”).

Costa Rican Model— Demilitarize? A possible solution is to demilitarize the Dominican Republic as Costa Rica has done. Costa Rica is a small nation located in Central America between Panamá and Nicaragua. Its long historical tradition of a stable and legitimate democracy has defined the uniqueness of the nation within the Central American and Caribbean region. It currently does not have a military, favoring a national police—a characteristic that is regarded as a

crucial factor to its long-standing democratic history. But the Dominican Republic is quite different from Costa Rica. Dominicans (along with Cubans and Brazilians) are mulatto (from African and European ancestry), in contrast to much of the rest of Latin America, which is largely mestizo (from Indian and European ancestry). The current level of economic and democratic stability relates to the racial compositions of countries in Latin America. Wiarda and Kline identify four different racial composition groups for Latin American countries. The mestizo nations are México, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Panamá, Honduras, El Salvador, and Colombia. The indigenousmajority nations are Ecuador, Guatemala, Perú, Paraguay, and Bolivia. “European character” nations are Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and Costa Rica. The levels of democracy and economic stability are generally better in the nations with “European character,” followed by mestizo and mulatto nations, and lastly the indigenous nations. These categorizations do not suggest racial superiority, but rather the affinity to democracy European immigrants brought with them from the countries of origin (Wiarda and Kline 5). Nations of “European character” generally have higher GDPs and literacy rates; better quality of life; less poverty; and lower corruption levels, while the indigenous nations have the opposite (see Figure 1). An important characteristic of Costa Rica is its colonial experience. As Bruce Wilson argues in Costa Rica: Politics, Economics and Democracy, Costa Rica is unique because of its “rural democracy.” The country as a colony was geographically isolated, suffered from widespread poverty, had few exportable products, and, most importantly, had a relatively low number of hostile natives (10). In colonial Latin America, the encomienda system established a hierarchy the effects of which can still be seen today. The economic encomienda system relegated the indigenous peoples and mestizos to the lower rungs of the social and economic ladders and put those of European descent in charge. However, the


Vazquez / Defense of the Dominican Military?

Argentina Bolivia Brazil Chile Colombia Costa Rica Dominican Republic Ecuador El Salvador Guatemala Honduras Mexico Nicaragua Panama Paraguay Peru Uruguay Venezuela



Quality of Life

Literacy Rate

2008 Growth


$14,413 $4,330 $10,325 $14,510 $8,215 $10,752

51.3 60.1 57 54.9 58.6 49.8

6.5 5.5 6.4 6.8 6.2 6.6

97.9% 86.7% 88.6% 95.7% 90.4% 94.9%

7 5.9 5.1 3.2 2.5 2.9

4 12.6 9.7 3.3 8.1 3.8



















$4,898 $4,268 $14,560 $2,688 $11,343 $4,778 $8,580 $13,294 $12,785

55.1 53.8 46.1 43.1 56.1 58.4 52 44.9 48.2

5.3 5.3 6.8 5.7 6.4 5.8 6.2 6.4 6.1

69.1% 80.0% 91.0% 67.5% 91.9% 94.0% 92.9% 97.6% 93.3%

4 4 1.3 3 9.2 5.8 9.8 8.9 4.8

20.3 14.9 6.7 16 6.9 10.8 11 3.3 7.3

Sources: CIA Factbook, 2009; The Economist, 2009; International Monetary Fund, 2008; Human Development Reports, 2008. Figure 1.

hostility of the indigenous population and their limited numbers did not allow for a mestizo class to develop in Costa Rica, and the lack of exportable resources did not cause a demand for African slaves. These two factors resulted in a “rural egalitarian society” in which both the wealthy and the poor tilled their lands. This social system allowed for democracy to be integrated more quickly in Costa Rica than the rest of Latin America and “discouraged the evolution… of a military class” (12). This social system did not allow for a strong military culture to integrate itself into Costa Rican politics. The role of the military in the Dominican Republic, on the other hand, follows a more traditional history, especially in relation to most of

Latin America. The Dominican Republic had the first military and police force in Spanish America. As a result, throughout the nation’s history these institutions have been deeply integrated in many of the nation’s most important events. National militaries led the independence wars against the Spanish and brought stability and order to the turmoil that followed. However, they were also responsible for enormous crimes against humanity and periods of repressive rule. Some countries, such as Argentina and Chile, have professionalized their military institutions to prevent corruption and repression. Despite periods of dictatorships renowned for their brutality, the militaries in the region have usually been respected.


New Horizons / April 2010

Recently, for example, when Haitian exmilitary members took power and paraded across the nation in 2004, significant portions of the population applauded them for their legacy of expelling the French in the 19th century (Regan). In spite of the differences in their history and racial composition, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica today face remarkably similar problems. Like the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica is a wealthier and more secure nation in comparison to its neighbor. Nicaraguan immigrants currently compose approximately ten to fifteen percent of the Costa Rican population, while Haitians comprise approximately fifteen percent of the population in the Dominican Republic (CIA Factbook). This influx of immigrants has for a long time caused a strain on Costa Rica’s reputed social economy (Ameringer 93). In addition to its weakened economy, Costa Rica faces problems with the drug trade. Like the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica is geographically positioned in an important drug route between drug-producing countries in South America and the largest drug-consuming country, the United States. Costa Rica serves as a transshipment point for illicit drugs from South America, mostly cocaine and heroin. This connection to the regional drug trade has also created a rise in crime in the country, with about thirty-three percent of criminal offenses being drug related (“Drug Consumption in the Costa Rican Prison Population and its Relation to Commmitting Crimes”). Both of these security threats are dealt with by the Ministry of Public Security’s Public Force, Costa Rican Air Force, and Coast Guard personnel, with a combined force of about 17,000 in 2003 (NationMaster). These institutions were installed after the military was disbanded by José Figueres in 1949 following a violent civil war. Even though the institutions are not called military forces, they have the same organizational structure and function as a regular army, navy, police, and air force (Carvajal). These institutions constitute a paramilitary force, a more lightlyequipped military that also polices the citizenry

(Lutterbeck 45-46). The Dominican military is just that: a lightly-equipped military that shares many functions with the PN. Hence, a dismantling of the military in the Dominican Republic would not change the current level of abuse and inefficiencies of the defense institutions; it would only constitute a change of name for each of the institutions.

Education—Key Variable? Rather than disband the military, a better solution to effectively professionalize the Dominican Republic’s defense institutions is to increase education and decrease economic disparity; both could help strengthen democracy and decrease corruption. Corruption runs rampant in all of Latin America. Costa Rica does not, however, suffer from this plague to the same degree as the rest of Latin America. In 2008 Costa Rica was ranked 47th among the “Least Corrupted Nations in the World,” the 3rd lowest in Latin America behind Chile and Uruguay. The Dominican Republic, in contrast, ranked 102nd, 12th of the 18 Latin American nations, excluding Cuba (Transparency International). People in most Latin American nations have little faith in their courts, with an average of 73% having negative views, including the people of the Dominican Republic (Hughes). In contrast, Costa Rica’s courts rate quite favorably in the perception of its population. Likewise, public officials in Costa Rica are held to high standards, unlike much of the rest of Latin America (including the Dominican Republic) where they are viewed with distrust (Hughes). There is a relationship between the level of corruption and education as demonstrated in the following table (see Figure 2). A decrease in corruption would result in the defense institutions improving the execution of their functions and proceeding with necessary reforms. As Figure 2 shows, there is a strong negative correlation of -0.88, meaning that the lower perceived levels of corruption are, the higher the level of education. Costa Rica has had low levels of corruption and a stable democracy. Costa Rica and other countries with low corruption and


Vazquez / Defense of the Dominican Military?

better democratic stability all share a common denominator: literate populations. Costa Rica, often referred to as the “Switzerland of Central America,” has a literacy rate of 94.9% (CIA Factbook). As a more educated populace, Costa Ricans are able to make informed decisions about politics and reforms. In addition, Costa Rica invests a third of its expenditures on education (“Costa Rica”). The Dominican Republic, in contrast, despite its 87% literacy rate, designates only 12.4% of its expenditures on education, making it one of the lowest spenders on education in Latin America (NationMaster). The Dominican Republic cannot change its history or its racial composition, but it can change its education system. A more educated population would decrease the corruption and facilitate the necessary reforms to professionalize and modernize the Dominican Armed Forces.

Conclusion The FF.AA. currently combats regional threats such as drugs, human trafficking, and money laundering. Corruption and frequent abuses, however, reduce the effectiveness of and border control operations, tarnishing its public image. This corruption is especially damaging considering that the role of a military in today’s world (especially for smaller nations) is no longer limited to fighting traditional wars. The Costa Rican model of a national police with military functions, or paramilitary force, can be considered a suitable alternative due to the low likelihood of war and because it is often seen as a key factor to Costa Rica’s reputed

Literacy Rate Perceived Corruption

democratic history. However, it performs the same functions as a military and does not play a key role in the perpetuation of Costa Rica’s democratic legacy. Replacing the Dominican defense institutions with a Costa Rican style paramilitary force would change nothing. In conjunction with military and police reforms or a paramilitary substitution, an equally robust reform of the political and economic systems in the country must be implemented. Otherwise, the reforms for the police and armed forces will not work, and any new paramilitary organization created would simply act in the same manner under a different label. Costa Rica has had a strong democratic history because of the way it was founded and because of its educated population. But in the Dominican Republic, corruption represents a serious obstacle to the legitimacy of democratic institutions, including the Dominican military, police, and politics, and remains a threat to political stability. Education is the one variable factor that the Dominican Republic can and should make stronger in order to develop its democracy and reduce corruption. A greater investment in education would help curb corruption while strengthening the legitimacy of the democratic and defense institutions of the nation.

Acknowledgments First I must thank Dr. Rick Kilroy for introducing me to the Summer Undergraduate Research Initiative (SURI), helping me formulate the basis for this paper, guiding me throughout the process, and encouraging me

Argentina Bolivia Chile 97.9% 86.7% 95.7% 24%



Costa Rica 94.9%

Dom. Rep. 87%



Panama Uruguay 91.9% 97.6% 40%


Sources: Literacy rates: CIA Factbook; Perceived Corruption: Transparency International’s “Global Corruption Barometer 2005.” Correlation(r) 5 NSXY 2 (SX)(SY) / Sqrt([NSX2 2 (SX)2][NSY2 2 (SY)2]). Figure 2.


New Horizons / April 2010

to submit it to New Horizons. Jorge Tellez deserves thanks for encouraging me to apply to SURI. I am also grateful to the JacksonHope Fund for sponsoring my travel to the Dominican Republic, where I consulted primary resources and witnessed the Dominican situation firsthand. In the Dominican Republic I was provided with a wealth of information from the military institutions, friends and family, especially my abuelita, Irene Díaz. I must also thank Dr. Blair Turner and Dr. Scott Youngdahl for their editing suggestions.

Notes Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina ruled the Dominican Republic between 1930 and 1961, both as the officially-elected President and as an unelected military leader. Joaquín Antonio Balaguer Ricardo served as President of the country between 1966 and 1978. 2 All translations are mine. 3 Samuel Huntington was an American political scientist who wrote extensively on civil-military relations. 4 Hispaniola is the island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic. 1

Works Cited Ameringer, Charles D. Democracy in Costa Rica. Stanford: Hoover Inst., 1982. Angel Cordero, Miguel. Las Fuerzas Armadas: Historia y Perspectivas. Santo Domingo: Amigo del Hogar, 2004. “Argentina.” CIA Factbook. 2009. Web. 26 June 2009. Aristy Capitán, Marien. “Las cárceles en una bomba de tiempo.” El País. 26 May 2009. Web. 5 February 2010. Banco Central de la República Dominicana. “Central Bank Economic View.” 12 May 2008. Web. 1 July 2009. Blum, William. Killing Hope. Monroe: Common Courage, 2004. “Bolivia.” CIA Factbook. 2009. Web. 26 June 2009. “Brazil.” CIA Factbook. 2009. Web. 26 June 2009. Brea Cruz, Rafael. “Aportes de las operaciones ejecutadas por la Dirección Nacional de Control de Drogas y su incidencia en la seguridad y defensa de la República Dominicana.” Thesis. Santo Domingo: Escuela de Graduados de Educación Superior, 2006.

Cambeira, Alan. Quisqeya la Bella: The Dominican Republic in Historical and Cultural Perspective. New York: Sharpe, 1997. “Cancelan oficial participó en atraco Parmalat.” Hoy. 20 February 2009. Web. 10 July 2009 “Central America: Trade Disappearing Along with Troops?” Stratfor. 22 April 2004. Web. 28 June 2009. “Chile.” CIA Factbook. 2009. Web.7 July 2009. “Colombia.” CIA Factbook. 2009. Web. 7 July 2009. Corcino Polanco, José David. “La República Dominicana ante las nuevas amenazas: el terrorismo.” Thesis. Santo Domingo: Escuela de Graduados de Educacion Superior, 2006. “Costa Rica.” CIA Factbook. 2009. Web. 7 July 2009. “Costa Rican Military Stats.” NationMaster. 2009. Web. 4 July 2009. Cruz, Raul. Personal interview. 3 June 2009. “Denuncia el aumento de delitos violentos en República Dominicana en 2008.” Hoy. 27 May 2009. Web. 27 May 2009. Distrito Nacional de Control de Drogas (DNCD) Aeropuerto Internacional Las Américas. Powerpoint Presentation. Santo Domingo, 2001. “Dominican Republic.” CIA Factbook. 2009. Web. 7 July 2009. “Dominican Republic.” Department of State. June 2009. Web. 19 June 2009. “Dominican Republic bearing brunt of Haiti insurrection.” NotiCen: Central American & Caribbean Affairs. 19 February 2004. Web. 20 June 2009. “Dominican Republic Country Brief.” The World Bank. April 2009. Web. 4 July 2009. “Drug Consumption in the Costa Rican Prison Population and its Relation to Commmitting Crimes.” Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission. N.d. Web. 20 April 2009. Ejército Nacional Dominicano. “Estructura del Ejército Nacional.” Powerpoint Presentation. 2008. Ejército Nacional Dominicano. Presentation. Santo Domingo, 2004. “El Salvador.” CIA Factbook. 26 June 2009. Web. 7 July 2009. Fearon, James and David Laitin. “Dominican Republic.” 27 June 2006. Stanford University. Web. 5 July 2009. Fernández, Arlette. Coronel Rafael Fernández Domínguez: Soldado del pueblo y militar de la libertad. Santo Domingo: Taina, 2005.

Vazquez / Defense of the Dominican Military?

“Global Corruption Barometer 2005.” Transparency International. 2005. Web. 6 July 2009. Gómez Ochoa, Delio. Constanaza, Maimón, y Estero Hondo: la victoria de los caídos. Santo Domingo: Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, 2006. Gregory, Steven. The Devil Behind the Mirror. Los Angeles: U of California P, 2007. “Guatemala.” CIA Factbook. 2009. Web. 7 July 2009. Hartlyn, Jonathan. The Struggle for Democratic Politics in the Dominican Republic. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina P, 1998. Hearsme Montas, Dimas Adaiberto. “Situación actual y prospectiva de la Marina de Guerra para la seguridad y defensa nacional en la frontera marítima dominico-haitiana.” Santo Domingo: Escuela de Graduados de Estudios Superiores Navales, 2008. “Honduras.” CIA Factbook. 2009. Web. 7 July 2009. Hughes, Rod. “Costa Rica Third Least Corrupt Latin American Country.” American European Real Estate Group. 24 September 2008. Web. 20 April 2009. Human Development Report. Human Development Indices. 2008. Web.7 July 2009. Humeau, Luis Albertos. Geopolítica, narcotráfico y seguridad en el Caribe. Santo Domingo: Impresos Digitales, 2004. ______. Manual de Doctrina Conjunta de las Fuerzas Armadas. Santo Domingo: EditaLibros, 2007. Jiménez, Manuel. “Scandal nixes Dominican Republic military parade.” Reuters. 25 February 2009. Web. 15 June 2009. “Joaquín Balaguer.” Wikipedia. 2010. Web. 5 Feb. 2010. Kline, Harvey F. and Howard J. Wiarda. A Concise Introduction to Latin American Politics and Development. Westview: Westview, 2007. Lancer, Jalisco. “The Conflict Between Haiti and the Dominican Republic.” All Empires Online History Forum. N.d. Web. 23 June 2009. ______. “Leonel Fernández anuncia compra de ocho aviones Súper Tucán en Brasil.” All Empires Online History Forum.19 June 2008. Web. 19 June 2009. Lutterbeck, Derek. “Between Police and Military: The New Security Agenda and the Rise of Gendarmeries.” Geneva Centre for Security Policy. 2004. Web. 24 June 2009 Martínez Henríquez, Carlos M. “Rol del Ejército


Nacional en la lucha contra el narcotráfico.” Thesis. Santo Domingo: Escuela de Graduados de Educacion Superior, 2008. Mateo, Ronny. “Se instalan equipos migratorios frontera.” Diario Libre. 12 June 2009: 6. “Mexico.” CIA Factbook. 2009. Web. 7 July 2009. Migration News. “Latin America: DR-Haiti, Argentina.” Migration News. August 2001.N.p. Miller, Randall H. “The Audacity of Dominican Politicians. How Much do Dominican Senators Make.” Randal H. Miller. 11 June 2008. Web. 1 July 2009. Muñoz, María Elena. Las relaciones dominicohaitianas: geopolítica y migración. Santo Domingo: Alfa & Omega, 1995. “Nicaragua.” CIA Factbook. 26 June 2009. Web. 7 July 2009. Nicolás, Alrich. “Haití condena linchamiento haitiano en Herrera.” Listin Diario. 5 May 2009. Web. 24 May 2009 . Nuñez, Manuel. El ocaso de la Nación Dominicana. Santo Domingo: Letra Grafica, 2001. Organization of American States. “REPORT Nº 95/08.” Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. 22 December 2008. Web. 23 June 2009. Otero, Luis Mariñas, ed. Las constituciones de Haiti. Madrid: Centro de Estudios Juridicos Hispanoamericanos del Instituto de Cultura Hispanica, 1968. “Paraguay.” CIA Factbook. 2009. Web. 7 July 2009. Pared Perez, Sigfrido A. Seguridad, defensa e identidad nacional. Santo Domingo: Corripio, 2006. Peralta Fernández, Eulalio C. Reforma y Modernización de las Fuerzas Armadas de la República Dominicana – Retrospectiva y Perspectiva. Santo Domingo: Secretaria de Estado de las Fuerzas Armadas, 2008. “Peru” CIA Factbook. 26 June 2009. Web. 7 July 2009. Plasencia, Aleida. “Pide a empresarios flexibilizar posición de aumento salarial.” Radio Bemba. 27 May 2009. Web. 5 Feb. 2010. “Poder Judicial República Dominicana se destaca en América Latina.” Hoy. 3 June 2009. Web. 15 June 2009. Policía Nacional. Policía Nacional 2002-2004. Santo Domingo: Centenario, 2004. “Rafael Trujillo.” Wikipedia. 2010. Web. 5 Feb. 2010. Regan, Jane. “Disbanded for Abuses, Haiti’s Former Army Rises Again.” Derechos Human Rights. 7 September 2004. Web. 20 June 2009.


New Horizons / April 2010

Rojas Agramonte, Anderson. Análisis sobre la migración illegal haitiana en el área de responsabilidad de la Marina de Guerra. Santo Domingo: Escuela de Graduados de Estudios Superiores Navales, 2008. Secretaria de las Fuerzas Armadas Dominicanas. “Cadete Vázquez.” Portfolio. Santo Domingo, 2009. Soto Jiménez, José Miguel A. Seguridad, Defensa y Democracia. Santo Domingo: Taller, 1998. ______. Las Fuerzas Militares en la República Dominicana. Santo Domingo: Corripio, 1996.

Torres, Bueno. Personal interview. 9 June 2009. International Corruption “Transparency Perceptions Index.” Transparency International. 23 September 2008. Web. 9 July 2009. Vásquez Romero, José L. “Antecedentes de la Dictadura Trujillista.” La Era de Trujillo y el Post-Trujillismo. Santo Domingo: Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, 2006. 11-32. “Venezuela.” CIA Factbook. 2009. Web. 7 July 2009. Wilson, Bruce M. Costa Rica: Politics, Economics, and Democracy. Boulder: Lynne Riener, 1998.

New Horizons  u  Volume 4  u  Number 1  u  2010

Directrix-Generated Curves and Surfaces Cadet Caleb Gibson Faculty Mentor: Dr. Daniel S. Joseph, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science ABSTRACT Putting a twist on the traditional definition of a parabola, an interesting family of curves (that includes the conic sections) is defined. Many interesting results occur with directrixgenerated curves. After exploring the possibilities in two dimensions, we extend the concept to three dimensions with directrix-generated surfaces. We also show that these surfaces have a reflective property similar to that of the directrix-generated curves.

other words, a line segment perpendicular to the directrix extending to the parabola is the same length as a line segment from the focus to the parabola.

INTRODUCTION Conic sections have been studied for over two thousand years. First studied by the Greeks, this inquiry is believed to have started anywhere from 600 to 300 B.C.1 Students are formally introduced to conic sections during their college calculus sequence. However, circles, ellipses, hyperbolas, parabolas (the four basic conics), points, lines, and double lines (the three degenerate conics) are familiar to nearly everyone. Commonly found in nature, conic sections play an important role in engineering. What exactly is a conic section? The formal definition states that a conic section is any intersection of a double cone and a plane (see Fig. 1). Each of the four basic conic sections can be defined by a point (or points) called the focus (or foci) and a line (or lines) called the directrix (or directrices). For example, a parabola is the set of all points in the x-y plane that are equidistant from a focus and directrix (the focus must not be on the directrix). In

Figure 1.  The intersection of a double-napped cone and a plane. 55


New Horizons / April 2010

Dr. Gregory Hartman proposed an interesting twist to this definition. What happens if the directrix is no longer required to be a line? What if it is a different curve? He and Dr. Daniel Joseph investigated this question and discovered a family of curves that have interesting properties. The well-known conic sections are a sub-class of this family of curves.

Directrix-Generated Curves Mathematically, a directrix-generated curve is defined as follows.

Definition: Consider the point , described by the vector and the curve traced out by the parametrically-defined vector function . We define the directrixgenerated curve to be the set of all points described by the vector function such that lies on the normal line to the curve at and is equidistant from the point and the curve at (Fig. 2). In other words, must satisfy the following criteria:

Figure 2.  An illustration of the two criteria used in defining the new curves.

(1) (2)


Gibson / Directrix Generated Curves and Surfaces

Figure 3.  The directrix is a parabola.

The point is called the focus and the curve is called the directrix. We will adopt the convention of referring to as the focus, as the directrix, and as the resulting directrix-generated curve.

Using MathematicaÂŽ to solve equations (1) and (2) simultaneously we find,





If the focus is fixed at the origin, this expression is more clearly given in the vector form,



where is simply a 90 degree counterclockwise rotation of the vector . Given a directrix and a focus, the resulting curve can now be found. Figure 3 shows an example of the directrix-generated curve that results when the directrix is the parabola and the focus is located at the origin. (Note that throughout this paper the directrix will be shown in black and the resulting directrix-generated curve will be shown in grey.) As noted earlier, each of the four basic conic sections can be represented as a directrixgenerated curve (see Fig. 4). Although derived


New Horizons / April 2010

Figure 4a.  A parabola results when the directrix is a line.

Figure 4b.  A circle results when the directrix is a circle with the focus at the center.

Gibson / Directrix Generated Curves and Surfaces

Figure 4c.  An ellipse results when the directrix is a circle with the focus off center.

Figure 4d.  A hyperbola results when the directrix is a circle with the focus outside the circle.



New Horizons / April 2010

in a different context, the knowledge that a circle, ellipse and hyberbola could be obtained from a point and a circle has been well known.2

Reflection Property The reflection property of parabolas, circles, ellipses, and hyperbolas is normally defined in terms of two foci. A line coming from one focus will reflect off the curve in such a way that the line of reflection passes through the other focus. According to this definition, only parabolas, circles, ellipses, and hyperbolas have this reflection property.3 Using a different definition for the reflection property, we can show that all directrixgenerated curves have a reflection property. We define the reflection property for directrixgenerated curves in terms of the focus and the directrix. We say that a directrix-generated curve has a reflection property if every line perpendicular to the directrix reflects off the directrix-generated curve in such a way that

the line of reflection passes through the focus (as long as the directrix-generated curve is smooth at the point of intersection.)4 For the four conics, these two definitions of the reflection property are equivalent. What does this reflection property look like? A line that passes through the point and is perpendicular to the directrix at that point will reflect off the resultant curve at the point in such a way that the line of reflection, , passes through the focus (see Fig. 5).

Gallery of Curves Given all this background information, we set off to find as many interesting directrixgenerated curves as possible. How did we determine if a directrix-generated curve was interesting or not? There were no set criteria, so we explored the possibilities. However, if a resultant curve had symmetry, wasn’t too messy, and/or was aesthetically pleasing to

Figure 5.  The reflection property.

Gibson / Directrix Generated Curves and Surfaces

Figure 6a.  The directrix is an asteroid.

Figure 6b.  The directrix is a hypocycloid.



New Horizons / April 2010

Figure 6c.  The directrix is a spirograph.

Figure 6d.  The directrix is another spirograph.

Gibson / Directrix Generated Curves and Surfaces

Figure 6e.  The directrix is a nephroid.

Figure 6f.  The directrix is tricuspoid.



New Horizons / April 2010

Figure 6g.  The directrix is another hypocycloid.

.  The directrix is a butterfly curve.

Gibson / Directrix Generated Curves and Surfaces

the researcher, it was considered interesting. We found that the more interesting the directrix was, the more interesting the resulting curve. Examples of interesting directrices are hypocycloids, spirographs, lissagjoues curves, etc (see Fig. 6). Some of the most interesting curves are generated from using directrix-generated curves as the directrices. For example, starting with the cubic as the directrix, the resulting curve is . The resulting graph isn’t terribly interesting. However, if this resulting curve is used as the new directrix, the resulting curve is quite interesting (see Fig. 7). In our research, one of the most interesting resultant curve progressions occurred with the equiangular spiral, also known as the logarithmic spiral (see Fig. 8). Logarithmic spirals, which can be written in general as where and are constants, are spirals that have a constant angle between the radial line and


the tangent line at every point on the curve. The angle is described by . These spirals have fascinated mathematicians for centuries for several reasons. First, they appear in numerous areas of nature such as the growth pattern of nautilus shells and the flight patterns of hawks as they approach their prey. Second, they have many interesting mathematical properties. For example, scaling or rotating them gives a similar logarithmic spiral. In other words, if a logarithmic spiral is rotated or multiplied by a constant, the result is another logarithmic spiral with the same constant angle .5 We will now prove the following theorem concerning the directrix-generated curve generated from an equiangular spiral.

Theorem 1: The directrix-generated curve, the directrix of which is an equiangular spiral with the focus at the origin, will be a similar equiangular spiral.

Figure 7a.  The directrix is



New Horizons / April 2010

Figure 7b.  The directrix is the directrix-generated curve from 7a.

Figure 7c.  The directrix is the directrix-generated curve from 7b.

Gibson / Directrix Generated Curves and Surfaces

Figure 7d.  The directrix is the directrix-generated curve from 7c.

Figure 8.  An equiangular spiral and its resultant curve



New Horizons / April 2010

Proof: Take a general equiangular spiral parameterized by where is a constant. We rewrite column vector

as a

. The resulting directrix-generated curve is

is the rotation matrix, which will rotate any vector in    counterclockwise by an angle  .  Therefore,   is the equiangular spiral scaled by a factor and rotated by radians. Thus is a similar equiangular spiral.  (It should be noted that can be written in terms of .)  In fact it is not hard to show using simple trigonometry that . Thus, the scaling factor and the angle of rotation is .


Directrix-Generated Surfaces

Factoring, we get

Given any that

We next wanted to extend the concept of directrix-generated curves to directrixgenerated surfaces.

there exists a constant . Therefore

Definition: Consider the point , described by the vector and the surface traced out by the parametricallydefined vector function . We define the directrix-generated surface to be the set of all points described by the vector function such that lies on the normal line to the surface at and is equidistant from the point and the surface at . In other words, must satisfy the following criteria:



Going back to our directrix-generated curve, we have







The point is called the focus and the surface is called the directrix.

Since We know the matrix

. , .

Our hypothesis, which proved to be true, was that if the directrix, , was a rotation of a simple curve, , about an axis, then the directrix-generated surface would simply be a rotation of the directrix-generated curve generated by the directrix, , about that same axis. For example, in two dimensions, if the directrix was a line, the resultant curve would be a parabola. Thus, if the directrix was a plane (a line rotated about an axis), the resulting surface would be a paraboloid of revolution (see Fig. 9). If the directrix was a

Gibson / Directrix Generated Curves and Surfaces


Figure 9.  An example of what we thought a directrix generated surface would look like.

more complicated surface, however, we were not sure what the result would be. In order to begin programming MathematicaÂŽ to find these directrix-generated surfaces, we looked at the vector form of the definition for the directrix-generated curves, .

In order to extend this definition to surfaces, we were going to need to make some changes. In the 2-D definition, we had to find a vector that was perpendicular to the derivative of the directrix. In the 3-D case, however, we would have to find a vector perpendicular to the tangent plane of the directrix. Thus using the cross product of the two partials of we have,


New Horizons / April 2010



Programming this definition into Mathematica速, we were able to find directrixgenerated surfaces. Figure 10 shows some examples of these directrix-generated surfaces. Here the directrix is the more transparent surface.

Reflective Property Interestingly, these directrix-generated surfaces also have a reflection property similar to that of their two dimensional counterparts. As with curves, Drucker showed that using the traditional definition of reflection, only a certain number of surfaces will actually be reflective.3 These surfaces are planes, spheres, paraboloids, ellipsoids, and hyperboloids. Again, our reflection property is broader,

therefore more surfaces can be considered to have this reflection property. Our reflection property states that a line perpendicular to the directrix will reflect off the resultant surface, if the surface is smooth at the point of intersection, in such a way that the line of reflection passes through the focus (see Fig. 11). Theorem 2: Directrix generated surfaces are reflective. Instead of trying to directly show that the partial derivatives of were perpendicular to an indirect route was taken. Proof: By the definition of directrixgenerated surfaces we know . We take the partial derivative with respect to of both sides of the equality,

Figure 10a. The directrix is a paraboloid with the focus at the origin

Gibson / Directrix Generated Curves and Surfaces

Figure 10b.  The directrix is a sphere and the focus is off center.

Figure 10c.  The directrix is a cylinder and the focus is at the origin.



New Horizons / April 2010

Figure 10d.  The directrix is a torus and the focus is at the origin.

Figure 11.  The reflective property for surfaces.

Gibson / Directrix Generated Curves and Surfaces


, and we get

. We can simplify the previous equation to



We know that . Therefore we can cancel out the denominators leaving .

We investigated this interesting class of directrix-generated curves. By expanding the library of directrix-generated curves, we found many examples with equaly interesting properties. One of these, the equiangular spiral, led us to the discovery that the directrix-generated curve resulting from an equiangular spiral with its focus at the origin is an equiangular spiral. Next we introduced an analogous class of surfaces. These directrix-generated surfaces are similar to their 2-D counterparts in many ways, not the least of which is the reflection property. Both directrix-generated curves and surfaces offer a lot more research opportunities, since we have barely begun to investigate the intricacies of these curves and surfaces.


Continuing we get,

The author expresses his gratitude to his mentor, Dr. Dan Joseph, for his guidance on the research project. Thanks, as well, to Dr. Greg Hartman for his insights and contributions, and to the Jackson-Hope donors and VMI funding that supported this research.

REFERENCES However, we know by definition is perpendicular to . Thus the left-hand side of the equation is zero which implies that . Therefore is perpendicular to . By a similar method, we can show that is perpendicular to . Since is perpendicular to both and , will be bisected by the tangent plane to the directrix-generated surface. This observation combined with the fact that , shows that the line of reflection travels through the focus.

R. Larson, R. P. Hostetler, and B. H. Edwards, Calculus: Early Transcendental Functions, 4th ed. (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 2007). 2 C. S. Oglivy, Excursions in Geometry, (Oxford UP, New York, 1969). 3 D. Drucker, “Reflection properties of curves and surfaces,” Mathematics Magazine 65 (1992), 147-157. 4 G. Hartman, D. Joseph, and C. Gibson, “Generalized Parabolas” (to appear). 5 E. W. Weisstein, “Logarithmic Spiral,” MathWorld, last accessed: Jan 28, 2010 <http://mathworld.> 1

New Horizons  u  Volume 4  u  Number 1  u  2010

Effects of Estrogen on the Neuromuscular System in the Embryonic Zebrafish (Danio rerio) Cadet Alexander Houser Faculty Mentor: Dr. James E. Turner, Professor of Biology ABSTRACT Estrogen is important in maintaining nervous system axonal growth, synapse formation, and neurotransmitter release. Estrogen is produced in many tissues of the body, including the nervous system, by an enzyme called aromatase, which converts androgens to estrogen. When estrogen is removed from the embryonic zebrafish system by using an aromatase inhibiter (AI) 4-hydroxyandrostenedione (4-OH-A), the organism does not developmentally express normal sensory-motor (S-M) functions and creates a condition called “listless.” When estrogen replacement therapies were used in AI-treated fish, there was a considerable amount of S-M functional recovery, especially when measuring tactile responses. It can therefore be hypothesized that estrogen plays a vital role in the formation and maintenance of sensory and muscle synapses in the developing zebrafish. This hypothesis was tested in part through immunohistochemistry using the antibody against the vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VAChT), which targets the synaptic vesicles that transport the acetylcholinergic neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters will activate the trunk muscles, allowing for the outward expression of the developing S-M behaviors. Specifically, fish at 48 hours post fertilization were treated with 4-OH-A at a 50 × 10-6 M concentration for three days, and controls were maintained in an isotonic solution. Morphometric data analysis indicated that there was an absence of vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VAChT) staining in the trunk skeletal muscles as a result of AI treatment. In contrast, estrogen replacement therapy, as a co-treatment in AI-treated fish, restored VAChT vesicle staining. Estrogen-treated fish exhibited a significantly higher number of VAChT profiles than did control fish. In addition, the primary motor neurons that stimulate the zebrafish trunk muscles and provide the acetylcholine neurotransmitter were visualized using a znp-1 antibody. These observations also demonstrated that estrogen deprivation significantly disrupts the branching and survival of these cells, which is corrected by estrogen replacement therapy. Therefore, data from these studies demonstrate that AI treatment denervates the zebrafish trunk skeletal muscles, which helps to explain their listless condition and demonstrates estrogen’s important role in



New Horizons / April 2010

INTRODUCTION Recently, estrogen has been found not only in the reproductive organs and adrenal glands, but also in the brain of mammals, fish, and birds of both sexes.2 According to Garcia-Segura et al., the body requires a complex estrogen hormone response system because of estrogen’s role as a neuroprotectant in the brain.6 The decrease in estrogen concentrations, as in menopause, can be correlated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and age-related macular degeneration. In addition, cognitive abilities in vertebrates are at their highest when sufficient neuro-estrogen is present.10,14 There is also valid evidence showing that estrogen can reduce damage done during stroke and a sudden loss of oxygen flow to the brain. Estrogen also plays a role in regenerating facial and peripheral nerve axons in mammals.18 Estrogen has also been shown to be important in maintaining synapse formation, axonal growth, neurotransmitter release, and ionic concentrations in the developing and mature nervous system.20 Estrogen is a steroidal hormone that is derived from cholesterol. In order for estrogen to be produced, an enzyme known as aromatase is required to aid in the conversion of testosterone or androstenedione to estrogen. The aromatase inhibitor 4-hydroxyandrostenedione (4-OH-A) competes for the active site against the natural substrate molecule androstenedione. 4-OH-A is a steroidal AI and binds irreversibly to the aromatase enzyme.7 In short, the addition of an aromatase inhibitor to the zebrafish’s system has been demonstrated to cease production of estrogen, thus leaving the fish estrogendeprived.22 Zebrafish in particular contain two genes that are responsible for converting androgens into estrogen. These two genes are called cyp19a and cyp19b and produce the enzymes cytochrome P450 aromaA, found in the ovary, and cytochrome P450 aromaB, found in the brain.4 Interestingly, teleost fish have concentrations of aromatase in the brain 100-1000 times greater than those in mammals.10 The zebrafish is an ideal model organism for this area of study for several reasons. Zebrafish

embryos mature in several days, which allows for the start and finish of experiments in a short time period. Also, researchers can observe organ development because the zebrafish is transparent. The aqueous environment of embryonic fish allows it to readily absorb treatments. 14,18 When the zebrafish are exposed to an aromatase inhibitor, they develop a condition termed “listless.”11 The listless fish exhibit significantly suppressed or absent sensory-motor functions including tactile response, vestibular response, eye movement, fin movement, and spontaneous movement. Since the fish have little to no sensory-motor function, they are essentially paralyzed. From this data a hypothesis was developed that states that the listless model is characterized in part by the lack of the formation or maintenance of neuronal synapses in the neuromuscular system of embryonic zebrafish due to estrogen deprivation. The study’s findings confirm this hypothesis. Specifically, we report that in AI-treated fish there is an absence of stained vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VAChT) vesicles at the neuromuscular junction, in addition to significant deficits in motor neuron branching and survival, which are restored by estrogen co-treatment with AI administration.

MATERIALS AND METHODS Zebrafish preparation Embryonic zebrafish (Danio rerio, F2 wild type embryos, strain AB) between the ages of 48 and 96 hours post fertilization (hpf) were used in all experiments. They were bred either at VMI or at a breeding facility in Oregon (Zebrafish International Resource Center, University of Oregon, Eugene). Protease (Sigma) was used to dechorionate the embryos upon arrival in order to expose the fish to various treatments prior to their normal hatching time. An average of 80-100 fish were used in each trial, with a minimum of three trials per experiment. The standard control group consisted of five fish and the experimental groups ranged from five to 10 fish. Also, the fish were placed in a controlled-environment chamber throughout

Houser / Effects of Estrogen on the Neuromuscular System in the Embryonic Zebrafish

the experimental trials to maintain constant temperature (28.5oC) and light cycles (12:12).

Treatments The zebrafish were placed in a variety of different solutions in order to determine their reaction to a given treatment. The aromatase inhibitor 4-hydroxy androstenedione (4OH-A) (Sigma) was used at a concentration of 50 ×10-6 M and estrogen (17-estradiol, Sigma) at a concentration of 10-8 or 10-6 M. Both estrogen and 4-OH-A (Sigma) were dissolved in 0.05% ethanol and diluted to the appropriate concentration with an egg-rearing solution (ERS) composed of 0.04g CaCl2, 0.163g MgSO4, 1.0g NaCl, 0.03g KCl in 1L of distilled water. The co-treatment consisted of a solution of 50 x 10-6 M AI and 10-8 M estrogen. Controls were exposed to an ERS solution containing 0.05% ethanol. The medium was exchanged every 24 hours.

Experimental designs Tactile response-AI pulse In order to determine if estrogen could accelerate the developmental appearance of the tactile response (TR), fish at 48 hpf were pulsed in AI for 24 hours prior to starting the experiment (until 72 hpf). At 72 hpf, approximately eight to 10 fish were placed in wells containing AI (50 x 10-6 M), ERS, or estrogen (1 x 10-6M). TR data were collected over the next 48 hours, in 24-hour increments (96 and 120 hpf).

VAChT and znp-1 staining Fish at 48 hpf were treated with AI (50 ×10-6 M), estrogen (10-8 M), AI + estrogen co-treatment, or ERS solutions for 48 hours (96 hpf). After completion of this initial treatment, all embryos were fixed in 4% para-formaldehyde.3 In order to determine the effect that estrogen has on the neuromuscular synapse, in situ wholemount immunohistochemical procedures were


employed. The antibody used was vesicular acetylcholine transporter (VAChT, goat, Millipore), which stains for the vesicles that carry acetylcholine in the bouton of the nerve terminals19, and znp-1 (mouse, ZFIN), which stains for the CaP primary motor neurons that innervate the zebrafish trunk muscles.21 Antibody histochemistry involved the indirect method. Specifically, VAChT was localized using the Vectastain Elite ABC kit (goat IgG, VECTOR Laboratories), and znp-1 was localized using the Vectastain Elite ABC kit (mouse IgG, VECTOR Laboratories). The kit was used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Diaminobenzidine (DAB, VECTOR Laboratories), the chosen substrate, left a brown stain indicating the presence of the antibody. The VAChT primary antibody was diluted to 1:1,600, the znp-1 primary antibody was diluted to 1:100, and the secondary antibodies were diluted in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. The DAB pre-soak solution was made by adding 25µl DAB stock solution, 1ml 0.1M PO4 buffer, 1ml dH20, and 20µl DMSO.2 The stained whole-mounts were photographed using a Nikon C1 confocal microscope.

Data analysis Tactile response Data was collected every 24 hours over a 48-hour time period. To measure tactile response, each fish was touched with a metal probe, and escape responses were observed using a dissecting microscope. If the fish reacted in any way to the stimulus, it was recorded as a positive tactile response.

VAChT and znp-1 data collection After immunohistochemical staining was complete, the fish were placed on slides as whole-mounts. For VAChT, the stained punctate vesicles were counted in the trunk muscular tissue above the anal pore over an area


New Horizons / April 2010

of 7.8 Ă&#x2014; 10-3 Îźm2, measured using a gridded graticule. For znp-1-treated fish, the stained CaP motor neurons were counted throughout the entire zebrafish. Then branch points off of CaP motor neurons around the anal pore were counted and averaged. Finally, the distance from the tip of the tail to the first stained CaP motor neuron was measured using a gridded graticule. Measurements were made at 200X using a Nikon Eclipse E800 microscope.

RESULTS Estrogen replacement therapy accelerates tactile response development in embryonic zebrafish After the fish had been pulsed in AI for 24-hours and placed in either ERS or 10-8 M estrogen, the estrogen-treated fish demonstrated a 36% greater tactile response recovery than the fish treated with ERS (Figure 1). However, at Day 2, ERS-treated fish had caught up with tactile response expression, and there was only an 8.3% difference between the two values. This significant difference (p>0.008) at Day 1, but not at Day 2 (p<0.05), showed that estrogen does in fact have a greater ability to accelerate the recovery of AI-treated fish than just a standard isotonic

Statistical analysis Several types of statistical analysis were used to determine if the data collected was statistically significant. For the estrogenaccelerated tactile response experiment, a z-test was used. For VAChT and znp-1, a oneway ANOVA was employed. The program Sigma Stat was used in these calculations.

Estrogen Accelerated TR Recovery After AI Washout 100 90

Percent Responding

80 70 60

Day 1 Day 2

50 40 30 20 10 0



10^8 EP


Figure 1. Estrogen treatment (10 M indicated as 10^-8 E P) accelerates the recovery of the tactile response (TR) in embryonic zebrafish after initially being pulsed with 50 X 10-6 M 4-OH-A for a 24-hour period (indicated by AI). The data were obtained after 24 and 48 hours of estrogen exposure post AI washout (96 and 120 hpf respectively). Controls were treated with ERS after AI washout (indicated as ERS P). The AItreated fish display little to no TR recovery over 48 hours. The estrogen treatment at Day 1 had 36% more fish display TR than in the ERS treatment (asterisk = p<0.008). After 48 hours, both the ERS and estrogen treatments show full recovery with only an 8.3% difference between the two treatments (p<0.05). Therefore estrogen appears to accelerate the early recovery of the TR. -8

Houser / Effects of Estrogen on the Neuromuscular System in the Embryonic Zebrafish

solution during the early stages of treatment.

Estrogen has a significant impact on the vesicles carrying acetylcholine to the neuromuscular junction Photomicroscopic VAChT immunohistochemistry results are displayed in Figures 2A-D. The trunk of an ERS-treated zebrafish display several groupings of stained vesicles, which can be identified as black dots scattered throughout the muscle (Figure 2A). In AI-treated fish, there appears to be a lack of stained vesicles throughout the trunk musculature (Figure 2B). The trunk musculature of an estrogen-treated fish appears to exhibit more vesicles present when compared to all other treated fish (Figure 2C). Finally, co-treated fish display stained vesicles although less than the control (Figure 2D). Morphometric analysis corroborates the light microscopic observations (Figure 3).


Specifically, fish treated with estrogen had a significantly higher number of vesicles (34.1%, p<0.025) than the controls treated with ERS. The AI-treated fish demonstrated no visible vesicles, but fish exposed with a co-treatment demonstrated a significant restoration of vesicles when compared with the AI-treated fish. As an additional control, ERS-treated fish lacking the primary antibody VAChT exhibited no stained vesicles.

Estrogen affects the development of CaP primary motor neurons and their branch points Samples from ERS, AI, co-treatment, and estrogen treatments were stained via znp-1 immunohistochemical techniques. All four treatment groups displayed znp-1-stained CaP primary motor neurons (Figure 4). However, there were differences among the various groups when looking at the number of axons present in

Figure 2. Photomicrographs depicting the effects of estrogen and AI treatments on the immunohistochemical visualization of VAChT-stained vesicles at 48 hours of treatment (120 hpf). A) The ERS-treated fish stained positive for the VAChT vesicles carrying acetylcholine in the pre-synaptic region of the neuromuscular junction (arrows point to vesicles). B) The AI-treated (50 X 10-6 M) fish demonstrated no VAChT vesicles. C) The recovery of stained vesicles in AI plus estrogen co-treated fish. D) The trunk musculature of an estrogentreated (10-8 M) fish demonstrates that there are more vesicles when compared to ERS controls. From this data, the inference that estrogen does in fact play a role in the maintenance of the pre-synaptic region of the neuromuscular system can be made. Figures 2A-D were taken at 200x magnification.


New Horizons / April 2010

VAChT Labeled Vesicles VAChT Vesicles/7.8  103 m2







30 20 10 0

10^-8 Estrogen






Figure 3. The morphometric analysis of the effect of estrogen and AI-treatments on VAChT antibody-labeled vesicles at 48 hrs of treatment (120 hpf). The ERS-treated fish had a significantly greater number of stained vesicles when compared to AI (50 X 10-6 M) treatment. Fish treated with estrogen (10-8 M) had approximately 34.1% more vesicles than the control ERS (p<0.025) and fish treated with a co-treatment (10-8 M estrogen + 50 X 10-6 M AI) had only 20.2% less vesicles than the ERS controls (p<0.05). The AI-treated fish exhibited no visible vesicles. ERS-treated fish lacking the primary antibody VAChT (ERS + no PA) demonstrated no vesicles. Asterisks indicate a significant difference between all values.

the fish, the number of branch points, and how far down the tail the neurons are present. The AI-treated fish had fewer axons present (Figure 5), fewer branch points (Figure 6), and CaP neurons were absent in the tail region (Figure 7) when compared to the other three treatments. Specifically, the AI-treated fish had on average four fewer CaP motor neurons than the ERS-, estrogen-, and co-treated fish (p=0.009, 0.010, and 0.013 respectively). When looking at the number of branch points projecting off of the CaP motor neurons, the observation was made that AI-treated fish had a significant reduction in the branch points when compared to ERS-, estrogen-, and co-treated fish (p=0.013, 0.009, and 0.025 respectively). Also, estrogen-treated fish appeared to have an increased number of branch points when compared to the control ERS-treated fish (p=0.017). On average, the

estrogen-treated fish had about 3 more branch points per CaP motor neuron than ERS-treated fish. Finally, in the tail region of the zebrafish, AI-treated fish had a significant amount of CaP axon degeneration when compared to ERS-, estrogen-, and co-treated fish (p=0.009, 0.010, 0.013 respectively). On average, the AI-treated fish were denervated about 20 mm x 10-2 further up the tail anteriorly than the other three treatment groups.

DISCUSSION Results from this study showed that estrogen accelerated the recovery of the tactile response in zebrafish after a 24-hour AI-washout. In other words, physiological doses of estrogen appear to have the ability to accelerate the repair of

Houser / Effects of Estrogen on the Neuromuscular System in the Embryonic Zebrafish


Figure 4. Photomicrographs depicting the effects of estrogen and AI treatments on the immunohistochemical visualization of znp-1-stained CaP primary motor neurons at 48 hours of treatment (120 hpf). All treatment groups stained positively for the CaP primary motor neuron. Figure 4A-D represents ERS, AI, co-treatment, and estrogen respectively. The images were taken at 200X magnification.

Number of Neurons Per Fish Length 35

Average Number of Neurons












Figure 5. The morphometric analysis of the effect of ERS, estrogen, co-treatment, and AI treatments on znp-1 antibody labeled CaP primary motor neurons at 48 hrs of treatment (120 hpf). The ERS-, estrogen- (EST), and co-treated (COT) fish had significantly more CaP neurons along the entire length of the fish (p= 0.009, 0.010, and 0.013 respectfully) than in the AI-treated group. The average number of neurons along the entire trunk in the ERS-, estrogen-, and co-treated fish were not significantly different (p >0.05).


New Horizons / April 2010

Average Number of CaP Branch Points

Number of Branch Points

16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 EST





Figure 6. The morphometric analysis of the effect of ERS-, estrogen-, co-treatment, and AI-treatments on znp-1 antibody labeled axon branching points of CaP primary motor neurons at 48 hrs of treatment (120 hpf). The ERS-, estrogen- (EST), and co-treated treated fish had significantly more branching points when compared to AI-treated fish (p=0.013, 0.009, and 0.025 respectfully). There was also a significant difference between the ERS- and estrogen-treated fish (p=0.017) in that estrogen caused an increase in the number of branch points above that of control values.

the S-M aspect of the nervous system. Current literature has suggested that estrogen has the ability to repair some neurological damage and plays a neuroprotective role in the body, with particular roles in maintaining synapse formation, axonal growth, and neurotransmitter release in the nervous system.6,20 Estrogen also appears to help in the regeneration of facial and peripheral nerve axons in mammals.15 These results from the literature help to confirm the data described in the current study. Based on current results, there was a significant difference in the number of VAChT synaptic vesicles in ERS-, estrogen-, co-treated and AI-treated fish. It was hypothesized that the AI-treated fishâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lack of estrogen would cause a denervation-like phenomenon in the neuromuscular junction of the zebrafish, which would help explain the listless condition.

Results from the current study validated the original hypothesis: estrogen is vital in maintaining a healthy synapse. VAChT stains specifically for Ach-containing vesicles in the nerve terminals at the neuromuscular junction and no vesicles were visible in the AI-treated fish, but co-treatment partially restored this condition. In correlation of these findings, the literature has shown that estrogen deprivation results in the degeneration of synapses in mammals.20 Specifically, in a recent study done in the hippocampal region in ovariectomized rats, the aromatase inhibitor letrozole had significant effects on the down-regulation of synapses in the spine and presynaptic boutons.9 In the environment it has been suggested that estrogen contaminants appear to act as endocrine disruptors, which could help to explain the cause of poor neurotransmitter

Houser / Effects of Estrogen on the Neuromuscular System in the Embryonic Zebrafish


Distance to First Motor Neuron in the Tail Region 60

Distance (mm  102)

50 40 30 20 10 0 EST





Figure 7. The morphometric analysis of the effect of ERS, estrogen, co-treatment, and AI treatments on znp-1 antibody labeled CaP primary motor neurons in the tail region at 48 hrs of treatment (120 hpf). Specifically, measurements were made from the tip of the spinal cord to where the first CaP motor neurons could be seen anteriorly. The greater the distance, the more evidence there is for CaP motor neuron degeneration. The co-treated (COT), estrogen- (EST), and ERS-treated fish were significantly further innervated down the tail region with intact CaP motor (p= 0.009, 0.010, and 0.013 respectfully) than in the AI treated group. There was no significant difference in the average distance of deinnervation in the tail region of the ERS, estrogen, and co-treated fish. These data suggest an initial posterior to anterior gradient of CaP motor neuron degenerations in response to AI treatment.

function in several neuromuscular diseases.1 The data collected from the CaP motor neuron studies help shed additional light on estrogen’s role in axonal formation and maintenance. Although all treatment groups stained positive for CaP motor neurons, there were still significant differences including the number of branch points, total number of axons in the fish, and a lack of neurons in the tail region. The observation that all treatment groups have positively-stained CaP neurons shows that estrogen’s role in the neuromuscular system might be more heavily focused in the nerve terminal ends than originally thought. These current findings help explain the mechanism for the listless condition. As currently reported, AI treatment causes the

lack of synaptic vesicles in cholinergic nerve endings of the neuromuscular junction due to lack of endogenous estrogen initiated by AI treatment. These findings open the possibilities for further research in this zebrafish model regarding estrogen’s role in nervous system development, maintenance, and neuromuscular diseases.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The author would like to thank Dr. Turner for his mentorship and leadership in this study as a faculty advisor. The author also thanks Mr. Ted Grigorieff, Mr. Spencer Kimori, and Mr. Chris McNair for their expert care of the zebrafish colony as well as the Department of


New Horizons / April 2010

Biology and the VMI Undergraduate Research Initiative, which have so generously supported this research.

REFERENCES R.A. Alyea and C.S. Watson. “Differential regulation of dopamine transporter function and location by low concentrations of environmental estrogens and 17beta-estradiol,” Environ Health Perspect 117, 778-83 (2009). 2 K.A. Bates, A.R. Harvey, M. Carruthers, and R.N. Martins, “Androgens, andropause and neurodegeneration: Exploring the link between steroidogenesis, androgens, and Alzheimer’s disease,” Cell Mol. Life. Sci. 62, 281-292 (2005). 3 R. BreMiller, “Solutions for Antibody Staining Protocols,” <> 4 G.V. Callard, A.V. Tchoudakova, M. Kishida, and E. Wood, “Differential tissue distribution, developmental programming, estrogen regulation and promoter characteristics of cy19 genes in teleost fish,”J. Steroid Biochem. Mol. Biol. 79, 305-314 (2001). 5 D.F. Chen, G.E. Schneider, J.C. Martinou, and S. Tonegawa, “Bcl-2 promotes regeneration of severed axons in mammalian CNS,” Nature 385, 434-439 (1997). 6 L.M. Garcia-Segura, I. Axoitia, L.L. Doncarlos, “Neuroprotection by estradiol,” Prog. Neurobiol. 63, 29-60 (2001). 7 N. Harda, S.I. Honda, and O.Hatano, “Aromatase Inhibitors and Enzyme Stability,” EndocrineRelated Cancer 6, 211-218 (1999). 8 K.H. Holin, F. Cicchetti, L. Bjorklund, “Enhanced axonal growth from fetal human bcl-2 transgenic mouse dopamine neurons transplanted to the adult rat striatum,” Neurosci. 104, 397-405 (2001). 9 O. Kretz et al, “Hippocampal Synapses Depend on Hippocampal Estrogen Synthesis,” J. Neurosci. 5, 5913-5920 (2004). 10 S.D. Moffat SD, A.B. Zonderman, E.J. Metter, C. Kawas, M.R. Blackman, S.M. Harman, S.M. Reanick, “Free testerone and risk for Alzheimer disease in older men,” Neurobiol. 62, 188-193 (2004). 11 B. Nelson,B., R.P.Henriet, A.W. Holt, A. W., K. C. Bopp, A.P. Houser, O.E. Allgood, and J.E. Turner, “The role of estrogen on the 1

developmental appearance of sensory-motor behaviors in the zebrafish (Danio rerio): The characterization of the listless model,” Brain Res. 1222, 118-128 (2008). 12 S.K. Powers, A. Kavazis, K. DeRuisseau, “Mechanisms of disuse muscle atrophy: role of oxidative stress,” Am. J. Physiol. Regul. Integr. Comp. Physiuol. 288, R337-344(2005). 13 P.A. Raymond, P.F. Hitchcock, “Retinal regeneration: common principles but a diversity of mechanisms,” Adv. Neurobiol. 72, 171-184 (1997). 14 J.W. Simpkins, S-H Yang, Y. Wen, and M. Singh, “Estrogens, projestins, menopause and neurodegeneration: Basic and clinical studies,” CMLS, Cell.Mol. Life Sci. 62, 271280 (2005). 15 J.F. Soustiel, . Palzur, O. Nevo, I.Thaler, and E. Vlodavsky, “Neuroprotective anti-apoptotic effect of estrogens in traumatic brain injury,” J. Neurotrauma. 22, 345-352 (2005). 16 A. Strasser, L. O’Connor, V.M. Dixit Annu. Rev. Biochem. 69, 217-245. 17 T. Suguira, N. Ito, K. Goto, H. Naito, T.Yoshioka, and S.K.Powers, “Estrogen administration attenuates immobilization-induced skeletal muscle atrophy in male rats,” J. Physiol. Sci. 56, 393-399 (2006). 18 L. Tazar and K.J. Jones, “Neurotherapeutic action of testosterone on hamster facial nerve regeneration: temporal window of effects,” Hormones and Behavior 45, 339-344 (2004). 19 E. Weihe, J-H Tao-Cheng, Schafer, M. K.H., J.D. Erickson, and L. E. Eiden, L. E., “Visualization of the vesicular acetylch9oline transporter in cholinergic nerve terminals and its targeting to a specific population of small synaptic vesicles,” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 93, 35473552(1996). 20 P.M. Wise, D.B. Dubal, M.E. Wilson, S.W. Rau, and L. Liu, “Estrogens: Trophic and Protective Factors in the Adult Brain. Front,” Neuroendocrinol 22, 33-60 (2001). 21 J. Zeller, V. Schneider, S. Malayaman,, S. Higashijima, H. Okamoto, J. Gui, S. Lin, Granato, M., “Migration of zebrafish spinal motor nerves into the periphery requires multiple myotome-dervived cues,” Developmental Biology 252, 241-256 (2002). 22 J. Zhoa, P. Mark, A. Tchoudakova, G. Callard, G., S. Chen, “Different catalytic properties and inhibitor responses of the goldfish brain and ovary aromatase,” Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 123, 180-191(2001).

New Horizons  u  Volume 4  u  Number 1  u  2010

Assembling and Testing a Neutron Detector Cadet Dominik Wermus Research Mentor: Dr. Doug Higinbotham Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (Newport News, VA) ABSTRACT Detecting neutrons is of high interest in experiments at Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility. Scientists use neutron detectors made of rectangular bars of scintillating plastic releases with PMTs (photomultiplier tubes) attached to each end. When charged particles pass through, scintillating plastic releases photons, which activate the light-sensitive PMTs. Neutrons have a small but known probability of colliding with nuclei in the plastic and releasing protons, which in turn produce light and are detected. A two-inch wall of lead shields the experiment from correlated pairs blocking out nearly all charged particles, making the array of scintillator bars a neutron detector. For several upcoming experiments in Hall A, scientists wished to add twenty-four one-meter-long bars to an existing detector. There were three stages to the project: physically assembling the bars, setting up the data acquisition system, and testing the detector with cosmic rays (high-energy particles from deep space). PMTs were taken from old bars, cleaned, tested and glued onto new scintillator bars. A data acquisition system composed of an ADC (analog-to-digital converter) and TDC (time-to-digital converter) was assembled, allowing for calibration and testing with cosmic rays. The energy deposited by the passage of cosmic rays was used to set the high-voltage power supplies of the PMTs. Once set, the known cosmic ray rate of 100 rays/m2·s was verified. These detectors will be used for experiments such as E07-006 (Studying Short-Range Correlations via the Triple Coincidence (e, e’pn) Reaction) to detect neutrons released from a correlation pairs of nucleons.

the current detector, HAND (Hall A Neutron Detector) by adding two layers of scintillating plastic bars. These bars could either be added behind the existing detector or be given their own trigger layer and act as a separate detector. Scintillating plastic gives off a constant glow because charged particles passing through the material cause the electrons to emit photons in the visible spectrum. The more energetic the charged particle, the more photons are

INTRODUCTION Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility’s electron beam can reach energies of up to 6 GeV, easily knocking out nucleons from targets. Detecting neutrons has been of high interest in many experiments, including past and future short-range correlation experiments.1-3 Scientists at Jefferson Lab’s Hall A wanted to be able to detect neutrons more efficiently, so they decided to expand 85


New Horizons / April 2010

released. A particle detector can be made simply by gluing a light detector to a bar of scintillator and wrapping it in masking tape (blocking out ambient light). Specifically, the HAND is made up of meter-long rectangular bars covered in black masking tape with one photomultiplier tube (PMT) attached to each end. There are eighty-eight bars in total, standing vertically in five rows back-to-back. (Figure 1). Since neutrons have no net charge, they are not explicitly detected by scintillators. Instead, a neutron has a small probability of hitting a nucleus and releasing a proton, which then releases photons in the plastic. 10 cm-thick bars will detect about 10% of the neutrons passing through. Another bar placed behind the first will detect another 10% of the incident neutrons (19% total), and so on. Unwanted charged particles such as protons and electrons must be filtered out; this is done with a thin layer of “veto” bars which have very little chance of detecting neutrons, but almost certainly detect charged particles. Signals given in the veto layer are used to remove charged particle events off-line. A two-inch lead wall in the hall can also be used to filter out charged particles before they ever reach the detector.

A neutron detector is simply a chargedparticle detector that uses electronics and shielding to filter out unwanted particles. Neutrons release charged particles through nuclear reactions inside the detector itself. There were three phases to the project: physically assembling the bars, hooking up the data acquisition system (DAQ) and hardware systems, and performing the cosmic ray tests.

PHYSICAL ASSEMBLY The bars, ordered from Kent State University, are made of 100 cm long, 10 x 25 cm rectangular clear scintillating plastic (Figure 2). Two triangular “light guides” with PMTs attached are fixed at each end. The entire body of the bar is wrapped in black masking tape to shield out ambient light. Twenty-four new bars were ordered, so forty-eight PMTs would be needed. Hall A’s storage shack contained an old detecting array, the scintillator bars of which had yellowed from use. The attached PMTs (Photonis XP4578/B) were still functional, and it was budget-wise to reuse them. A total of forty-two were salvaged (saving $136,000) by cutting through the silicon glue while being careful not to cause any shock or heavy

Figure 1.  The HAND (Hall A Neutron Detector) with a diagram on the left and photo on the right.

Wermus / Assembling and Testing a Neutron Detector


100cm 10cm




Figure 2.  The type of scintillator bar used in this setup; PMTs are attached on both ends.

vibrations that would break the sensitive vacuum-sealed chambers. The PMTs were returned to the test lab, where the surface of each PMT was cleaned with alcohol to remove any smudges which would block out light. The PMT looks and behaves like a reverse flashlight; when a single photon makes contact with its thin metal surface, a single electron is released, which then makes contact with other cathodes, causing a cascade of more and more electrons until a noticeable signal is made. PMTs are extremely sensitive and are overwhelmed if exposed to normal light. The PMT has two parts: the vacuum-sealed, 5”-diameter glass-surface photon receptor and the electronic base attached to the other end. The base has two cable plugs: one highvoltage for powering the device and one lowvoltage for delivering a signal to a computer. After being cleaned, each individual PMT was mounted inside a “blackbox”; a modified


toolbox made to seal out all ambient light when shut. The PMT was connected inside the box, and cables were connected from the box to a power source and an oscilloscope (Figure 3). The power source delivered over 2000 volts, though the voltage to each PMT was later adjusted. The oscilloscope gave a visual reading of the PMT’s output signal. The PMTs were first turned on and assessed for “noise”; if not receiving any light, the PMT should produce only a very small signal coming from thermal electrons within. Good PMTs would fluctuate in the five millivolt region, while others would give outputs in the dozens of millivolts region, rendering them unusable. However, this reading often signaled a mere problem with the PMT’s base rather than the complex cavity. Replacing the base was far cheaper than replacing the vacuum cavity. Of the 42 PMTs, 37 had good bases, and five needed replacement. These replacements were taken from other spares at the lab. One Photonis XP4572/B and five more EMI 9823KB PMT bases were taken from other spares at the lab. In testing each PMT, a small, rectangular piece of scintillating plastic was pasted onto the surface with a clear, sticky, non-drying glue. The PMT-scintillator combination was placed again in the blackbox, powered and attached to an oscilloscope. Though the blackbox would shut out ambient light and

Figure 3.  Testing a PMT to see if it still works. On the left, the closed blackbox connected to a power source and an oscilloscope. On the right, zoomed in showing a PMT with a small piece of scintillator attached to detect cosmic rays. With this size scintillator, the rate of particles detected was about 1.6 hits per second.


New Horizons / April 2010

charge, the scintillator would still give a faint amount of light from the cosmic rays passing through. Cosmic rays are highly energetic particles that come from deep space and pass through the Earth at a constant rate. Primary cosmic rays are usually highly relativistic protons. These protons collide with cosmic dust or ozone in the atmosphere, breaking up into secondary cosmic rays, which are usually relativistic mesons and other exotic particles. Approximately 75% of what finally reaches the Earth’s surface are muons, or heavy electrons. It is expected that one hundred of these secondary cosmic rays pass through a square meter every second.4 For this small piece of plastic, about 8 × 20 centimeters and half a centimeter thin, we expected to get about  , which corresponded to what was observed on the oscilloscope: about three hits for every two seconds. A “hit” could be seen as a strong spike in negative voltage, which happened in the course of only a few nanoseconds. Once the PMTs were determined ready for use, the next step was to attach them to the bars. A clear adhesive called Elastosil® was used to glue the surface of each PMT to the unwrapped end of each bar. The chemical consists of two parts, Elastosil® A and B, and

must be combined prior to use. Elastosil® is a silicon glue, and is useful because it is both hard to break physically, while easy to break chemically (with most solvents). The compound is first mixed (90% part A, 10% part B), with 200 grams being enough to use for four or five PMTs. Air bubbles from the mixture were removed using a blow drier, and then a thin layer was applied to the surface of the bar. Because the glue takes twenty-four hours to dry, the bars needed to be placed upright and PMTs balanced on top (Figure 4). Five bars at a time were strapped upright to an A-frame and balanced, the bottoms held in custom-built stands given by Kent State University. The glue was applied, and each PMT was attached and taped on sides to the bar for extra support. This was a delicate process, as the bars weigh close to one hundred pounds each, and the PMTs can easily shatter if a moderate force acts on them. Harder still was placing the second PMT on the bar’s other end; the bars had to be suspended an extra foot off the ground. A bar was considered complete when it had two PMTs attached, and all its remaining exposed areas were rewrapped in at least two layers of masking tape. Each bar was then inspected for light leaks (holes in the tape which would allow ambient light in) by connecting

Figure 4.  On the left, standing the scintillator bars upright, balancing them and securing them. On the right, gluing the PMTs on and allowing them to dry over a 24-hour period.

Wermus / Assembling and Testing a Neutron Detector


Figure 5.  One arrangement of bars used for cosmic ray testing, with the bar on top acting as the trigger.

each PMT covering the bar with a black wool blanket. Parts of the blanket would be lifted, and if a signal began to appear, a flashlight would be used to pinpoint the specific area where the leak was present. Once all the bars were tested, they were neatly stacked in a way that the PMTs would not touch each other. Nineteen bars were constructed and tested in this manner but five more had EMI 9823KB

PMTs without bases, and could not be tested. Five complete bars were then stacked together to mimic the final detector product. Four bars were laid flat side-by side, and another was placed on top, intersecting them (Figure 5). The ten PMTs were powered with 2000V from a high-voltage power supply. The lowvoltage data cables were connected to the rest of the data acquisition system (DAQ).

Figure 6.  On the left, the full electronics array with cables attached; from top down, an oscilloscope, various electronics units (amplifier, discriminator, gate generator, ADC output), high voltage power source, TDC output. The ADCs and TDCs are connected to a VME, which sends the data to the computer. On the right, part of the electronics array with the oscilloscope on top, reading a PMT’s output. Note the dip in the signal: this highlighted signal is a low-energy cosmic ray (~100 millivolts), with some higher-energy rays’ readings (~200 millivolts) fading away. The signal is a bit less than 200 nanoseconds wide.


New Horizons / April 2010

100 90 80

Rate (events/s)

70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0









Discriminator (mV)

Figure 7.  Discriminator Level (mV) vs. Count Rate (events/s). The discriminator set the minimum of the strength signals were allowed to pass through. The signal strength-to-particle energy ratio is about 4 mV/ MeV. This was to block out noise and low-energy charged particles in the Test Lab area. Though the rate of 20 events/s corresponded to 150 mV, other settings also saw successful runs. According to measurements, any setting past 300 mV reduced the rate to a very slow 2 events/s or less, and settings less than 50 mV saw an exponential increase in event rate. A “sweet spot” of 75 mV was used for some of the runs in testing the detector bars.

THE DATA ACQUISITION SYSTEM The DAQ was composed of two parts: the analog-to-digital converter (ADC), which measured the strength of the signal, and timeto-digital converter (TDC), which measured when the signal occurred. Because a constant collection of events would overwhelm the computer, windows of time or “gates” were used to determine when data would be recorded. With four bars on the floor and one spread on top, the top bar acted as a “trigger.” From above, a cosmic ray would go through the trigger, starting a timing “gate” for data to be recorded in the other bars. In a matter of nanoseconds, the ray would continue, activate the other bars it passed through, and a signal would be recorded and sent to the computer. Measuring the timing and strength of the signal of all the PMTs on two bars, the path of the cosmic ray could

be determined. With a large collection of data, both the rate and angular distribution of cosmic rays passing through the Earth could be calculated. A window of about 200 nanoseconds was needed to record the energy deposited by a cosmic ray. When a ray would first pass through the trigger bar, the trigger PMTs would activate, sending their two signals to a coincidence unit. If they occurred simultaneously, the unit would activate and send a signal to a gate generator. One copy of this signal was sent through about three and a half-meters of delay cables (a signal travels through cable at 17 centimeters per nanosecond), back to the gate generator which closed the gate, and another to a timing device (Figure 6). There were ten channels for the ten different PMTs. Each PMT had a cable which sent a signal to a 10x amplifier, allowing for better distinguishing of the different signals, and then

Wermus / Assembling and Testing a Neutron Detector


Figure 8.  ROOT analyzer displaying ADC histograms used to optimize voltages on PMTs, with typical ROOT menu in background. Channels nine and ten are the trigger bar’s PMTs, and one through eight are the PMTs on the detector bars beneath. A good ADC signal is one of a sharp spike between 0 and 300 mV (a “pedestal” of noise later cut out), and a decreasing slope beyond it. This data was taken from short runs, where longer runs would have much more data and much smoother slopes. Note these histograms are on a logarithmic scale. Even though the other channels are disconnected, they still display pedestal noise caused by thermal electrons in the electronics. Also note that channel seven displays pedestal noise, which at the time showed that something was disconnected; the base was slightly detached from the PMT.

to a discriminator. The discriminator was set to accept signals only above a certain voltage, blocking noise and low-energy particles. If accepted, two copies were made. The first signals went to the computer as the ADCs. The second signals went to a timing device which output the TDCs. The ADC signal was the integral of the voltage from the opening to the closing of the timing gate, with a reference voltage subtracted to reduce the effects of noise. The TDC data was the time the signal arrived minus the time the gate began. The computer was able to collect cosmic ray readings with CODA software and process them using ROOT. CODA (Common DAQ) is a software system developed at Jefferson

Lab for the collection of data to be used in conjunction with ROOT. ROOT was developed at CERN by physicists working with highenergy experiments in which the number of events in one run can be in the millions, and with hundreds of runs in one experiment. ROOT is useful for its processing power and graphing capabilities.5

TESTING WITH COSMIC RAYS With the setup complete, data were nearly ready to be recorded. However, because each PMT’s base is slightly unique, each PMT would need a slightly different “gain,” or amount of amplification to give the same reading for the


New Horizons / April 2010





Figure 9.â&#x20AC;&#x201A; TDC histograms. By subtracting the two PMTs on one bar, the point of entry on the bar of the cosmic rays could be determined. With some modification, the x and y scales on each graph were used to show the length of the bars in centimeters with zero as the center, while the height shows the number of times that part of the bar was hit. The first graph (a) shows the entry point for cosmic rays on the middle left bar. The other three graphs display one bar versus another (b) middle left versus bottom left, (c) middle right versus bottom right, and (d) bottom left versus bottom right. Note that the number passing through both bottom bars is very small in comparison to the other charts. On each bar, there is a bias to one side. The cause is still unknown, but the fault is most likely either a source in the Test Lab environment or with the voltage settings on the PMTs. For this run, the discriminator level was 75 mV, for a total of about 3 million events.

same energy particle. Quick runs were taken to check the ADCs coming from each PMT. If the energies detected were too high, the power going to the PMT would be lowered and vice-versa. The gains on the PMTs were adjusted so they would all give readings in the same range. Charged particles lose energy in the plastic at 2 MeV/cm. With most of the cosmic rays coming from the atmosphere

above, there would be a mean energy deposit of 50 MeV per cosmic ray, corresponding to about 200 mV in a signal. To evaluate the rate of events detected, the discriminator was tested on a range of settings (Figure 7). The rate of events should have been , reduced to 20 hits/s since not all events would be detected by the PMTs. This rate of events corresponded to a setting of 150 mV.


Wermus / Assembling and Testing a Neutron Detector














Angle (degrees)

Figure 10.  Angular distribution of cosmic rays in degrees. 90 degrees is center, indicating a cosmic ray entering perpendicular to the surface of the bar. Once again, there is a bias to one side, indicating a possible source in the Test Lab, or some other unknown cause. The fit shown here is a Gaussian, which is incorrect; angular distribution of cosmic rays fits a cosine-squared distribution centered around 90 degrees. The discriminator level was set to 150 mV, with about 2 million events.

The final phase of testing would be to measure the paths of the cosmic rays. A new arrangement was set up: five bars were arranged so that one trigger bar laid flat on top of two stacks of two bars. Large recordings were taken (two to three million events), and an evaluation program written in ROOT displayed ADC and TDC data from each PMT in histograms (Figure 8). The difference in TDCs on a single bar could give the point of entry of the cosmic ray (Figure 9). By comparing two bars, the complete path (including angle) of a cosmic ray could be determined. Total spatial and angular distribution of cosmic rays was calculated by adding all of these events (Figure 10). By examining the TDC data, there seemed to be a strong bias towards one side on each of the bars. The reason for this is still undetermined; either there is some source giving off strong radiation (which in the test lab is very possible), or the gains on the PMTs are imbalanced. Either way, based on these results, the bars

were determined ready for use. The detector will be used for experiments such as E07-006 (Studying Short Range Correlations via the Triple Coincidence (e, e’pn) Reaction), where an electron beam scatters paired nucleons from a target. In the future, the bars still need to be arrayed in a metal rack just as with the original detector. Further, a “veto” layer may still be assembled if this detector is to be used independently from the original. A 2-inch lead wall will absorb almost all charged particles, but a thin layer of scintillator poorly absorbs neutrons and can signal “false hits” for unwanted particles.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I cannot express my feelings of gratitude into this poor little section. My summer internship was granted by the Department of Energy SULI (Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship) Program. I would like to thank my mentor, Dr. Higinbothom, for his great dedication, sense of humor, and his many hours of leading me


New Horizons / April 2010

to thrive in this sink-or-swim environment. For our collaboration on this effort, I would like to acknowledge physicists Eli Piasetski, Moshe Kochavi and Ph.D. student Or Chen from the University of Tel Aviv, who have given me the first understanding of the life of a scientist. My thanks to Lisa Surles-Law and Jan Tyler for bringing the interns together and for laughing when I did things that other scientists did not approve of. Finally, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like to thank Anthony Gillespie, Gary Dezern, Ed Folts, Elena Long and everyone else who has mentored me this summer. I am now confident I am capable of becoming a good scientist and will be happy with my life doing so.

REFERENCES R. Subedi et al., Science 320, 1476 (2008); (10.1126/science.1156675). 2 D. W. Higinbotham, E. Piasetzky and M. Strikman, Protons and Neutrons Cozy Up In Nuclei and Neutron Stars, 49N1, 22-24 (2009). 3 S. Gilad, D. Higinbotham, S. Watson, E. Piasetski, V. Sulkosky et al., Studying Short-Range Correlations in Nuclei at the Repulsive Core Limit via the Triple Coincidence (e,eâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;pN) Reaction, [JLab E07-006] (2009). 4 C. Amsler et al., [Particle Data Group], Physics Letters B 667, 1 (2008). 5 A. Brun and F. Rademakers, Nuclear Instrumentation Methods A389, 81 (1997). 1

New Horizons  u  Volume 4  u  Number 1  u  2010

Roosting Habits of Male Eastern Small-Footed Bats (Myotis leibii) in New Hampshire Cadet M. Erin Hawes and Cadet Timothy J. Brust Faculty Mentor: Dr. Paul R. Moosman, Assistant Professor of Biology ABSTRACT The roosting habits of eastern small-footed bats (Myotis leibii) are poorly understood. We studied the roosting behavior of three male M. leibii in New Hampshire by measuring the physical and temperature profiles of their roosts. Physical dimensions of roosts were compared to the same characteristics measured at nearby random sites using logistic regression. Temperature of roosts fluctuated daily and ranged from ca. 20°C in the early morning to 32°C after noon. Roosts were associated with crevices that had larger lengths, widths, and depths than random sites. This suggests that habitats with inadequate crevice sizes may be unsuitable for M. leibii. Larger crevices could allow bats to regulate temperature or avoid predators.

the roosting habits of male M. leibii. What is known is limited to anecdotal reports involving hibernating bats.1 Male and female bats often exhibit different roosting behaviors.2 According to Veilleux, male and female eastern pipistrelles (Perimyotis subflavus) selected different species of trees to use as roosts, with females roosting in conifers and males in northern red oaks.6 Female P. subflavus also switched between roosts more frequently (every 17 days) than males (33 days).6 Such differences in behavior may have been due to added physiological requirements associated with pregnancy, lactation, and predator avoidance.6 Given the gender-based differences in behavior exhibited by P. subflavus and other North American bats, M. leibii may also exhibit

INTRODUCTION Myotis leibii is a rare species of bat occurring throughout mountainous areas of eastern North America.1 Because the species is seldom encountered, its biology and ecology are not well known. If populations of M. leibii decline, this lack of information about its ecology may hinder conservation attempts. Recent work on M. leibii assessed foraging behavior and diet.3-4 Results indicated its diet is primarily composed of moths but includes a diverse array of anthropods. The species’ roosting habits during summer are largely unknown. In Maryland, female M. leibii generally roost in crevices of rock outcrops.3 However, no study has been conducted on 95


New Horizons / April 2010

gender-based differences in roosting behavior. If so, the effectiveness of future conservation efforts will depend on a thorough understanding of the roosting habits of both sexes. The goal of this study was to: 1) describe the roosting habitat and temperature preference of male M. leibii and 2) identify whether roost sites possess different physical parameters than random sites. Information presented herein represents the first published description of the roosting habits of male M. leibii.

METHODS Bats were captured using mist nets placed along travel corridors at Surry Mountain Lake in Cheshire County, New Hampshire (42o59’54 N 72o18’35 W), during the months of June and July 2009. Surry Mountain Lake is a man-made reservoir formed by damming of the Ashuelot River. The landscape surrounding the lake is steep and mostly forested, with elevation ranging from 149 m at the base of Surry Mountain Dam to 409 m at the top of Surry Mountain. Upland forest at the site is dominated by mature white pine, hemlock, and red oak. Forested portions of the floodplain of the Asheulot River consist mostly of silver birch, paper birch, iron wood, hickory, and American cherry trees. The dam is 549 m long and oriented east to west, with north and south slopes covered by granite boulders ranging from approximately 12 cm to 3 m in diameter. Bats were captured by placing mist nets across wooded roads and perpendicularly along the edges of fields within 600 m of the dam. Captured male M. leibii were weighed to the nearest 0.1 g using a spring scale (Pesola, Baar, Switzerland) and their length of forearm measured to the nearest mm. Age (adult vs. juvenile) and reproductive condition (abdominal vs. scrotal testes) were recorded. Prior to release, numbered aluminum bands were placed on their forearms (Porzana LTD, East Sussex, United Kingdom). Adult male M. leibii were given a 0.38 g temperaturesensitive radio transmitter (LB-2NT, HoloHil Systems LTD, Ontario, Canada). Transmitters were attached using surgical bonding cement

(Torbot Group Inc., Rhode Island, USA). Bats were released at the site of capture and located daily using Yagi antennas and radio receivers (R-1000, Advanced Telemetry Systems, Minnesota, USA). The presence of bats in roosts was visually confirmed using telemetry and visual searches of nearby crevices. Visual searches were performed only every other day to minimize disturbance of the bats. When visual confirmation was not conducted, locations of roost sites were estimated within a five-meter area via triangulation by two researchers standing ca. 10 m away. Bats were located in this manner until transmitters failed or fell off (ca. 10 days each). Roosts were photographed and their coordinates obtained using a hand-held GPS device (± 6 m error). Physical characteristics, including length, width, and depth of the crevice, as well as compass aspects of the hillside and roost sites were recorded. Also, the type of roost (e.g., scree, cliff face, or rock outcrop) and estimated angle of the crevice were noted. Data-logging temperature sensors (Nexsens Technology, Inc., Ohio, USA), inserted into the roosts, recorded the temperature every hour for three days. Roosts were marked with flagging tape for later identification. With the exception of temperature, the same measurements also were recorded at 36 random sites. These sites were selected using a satellite image of the dam, which was marked with a grid scale to create 40 potential sampling locations. Thirty-six of these were randomly selected and measured to compare with confirmed roosts. Confirmed roosts and random locations were compared with a logistic regression model using a forward selection process to identify variables correlated with habitat use. The model was constructed using type of location (roost or random) as the dependent variable and crevice length, depth, width, and crevice angle as potential independent variables (with alpha = 0.05).

RESULTS A total of three male M. leibii were captured and radio-tracked. Roost data were collected from each of these over a total of 28 “bat days.”

Hawes and Brust / Roosting Habits of Male Eastern Small-Footed Bats (Myotis leibii) in New Hampshire

We define total bat days as the number of times a given bat was successfully tracked to a roost. Bats were always observed roosting alone, and each usually moved to a new roost each day over the length of the study (21 roost sites were identified). Bats roosted on cliff faces 28.6% of the time (8 out of 28 bat days) and in crevices of rocks on the slopes of the dam 71.4% of the time (20 out of 28 bat days). The north side of the dam was used less frequently (31.6%) than the south side (68.4%). Roost temperature data were recorded for only two bats because the third bat roosted on an inaccessible cliff face. Combing data from both bats, there were ten days in which roosts were not visually confirmed; therefore, temperature data were not acquired. Average temperature (±SE) of roosts was 23.6±0.2oC. Bat 40076 roosted in six crevices on the north side of the dam and spent five bat days in less-accessible places, such as a cliff face and rock outcrop ca. five km from the dam. The average temperature of its roosts on the dam was 21.6±0.2oC (Figure 4). Bat 40083 roosted in 12 roosts, all on the south side of the dam. The average temperatures of its roosts were 24.2±0.2o C (Figure 4).


Logistic regression analyses of physical dimensions of roosts indicated that crevice angle was the only physical parameter that was similar between roosts and random sites. Roosts varied from random sites most significantly according to crevice length (x2=14.7, d.f. =1, P<0.001; Figure 1). Crevice depth (Wald=5.26) and width (Wald=3.03) also varied significantly between roosts and random sites, but only when crevice length was excluded from the model (x2=8.04, d.f.=2, P=0.018; Figures 2 and 3).

DISCUSSION Results suggest that roost characteristics, including habitat type (such as cliff face versus talus slope) and crevice dimensions, influenced habitat selection by M. leibii. Most bats were found in the talus slopes of the dam, whereas only one bat roosted on the cliff face next to the dam. This observation suggests the dam offered a more favorable habitat for most of the M. leibii we studied. Previously published information has described the use of mountainous regions with talus

35.0 30.0 40076

Temperature (Celcius)

25.0 20.0 15.0 35.0 30.0


25.0 20.0 15.0 0:








8: 00























Figure 1.  Average temperature of roosts used by two male M. leibii. Bars represent 95% confidence intervals.


New Horizons / April 2010



Random site Roost site






0.0 0.0





Figure 2.â&#x20AC;&#x201A; Predicted probability of sites being used as roosts by M. leibii based on a logistic regression model with crevice length (cm) as the independent variable. 30.0

Mean Depth



0.0 Random site

Roost site

Type Error bars: / 1 SE

Figure 3.â&#x20AC;&#x201A; Comparison of the mean depth (cm) of random sites versus those used as roosts by eastern smallfooted bats (Myotis leibii).

Hawes and Brust / Roosting Habits of Male Eastern Small-Footed Bats (Myotis leibii) in New Hampshire



Mean Depth






Random site

Roost site

Type Error bars: / 1 SE

Figure 4.â&#x20AC;&#x201A; Comparison of mean width (cm) of random sites versus those used as roosts by eastern smallfooted bats.

rocky slopes, although M. leibii have also been found in buildings, tunnels, caves and mines during hibernation.1 Surry Mountain Dam is manmade, but resembles a talus slope, which our results suggest may be a particularly favorable habitat for M. leibii. Temperature values suggest that roosts on the south side of the dam hold heat longer throughout the day, relative to those located on the north side of the dam (Figure 4). This condition may have been caused by the amount of solar radiation each side received, since north-facing slopes typically receive less sunlight in the Northern Hemisphere. However, roosts were not monitored simultaneously. One bat was monitored during June, whereas the other was studied in July. Thus, temperature differences may have been influenced by other factors, such as seasonal changes in temperature or perhaps other physical properties of roosts. Surry Mountain Dam possesses a range of boulder sizes providing crevices of various sizes. Although many of these crevices

represent potential roosts, actual roost sites mostly occurred in crevices with dimensions that were larger than those of random sites. Most small species of bats possess high resting metabolic rates that are energetically expensive to maintain at low temperatures. Therefore, it is believed that bats choose roosts that are warm enough to maintain optimal body temperatures without using their own energy to do so.5 We hypothesize that larger crevices allowed bats greater ability to thermo-regulate by moving to cooler or warmer parts of the crevice throughout the day. Larger crevices may also have offered better protection from diurnal predators that patrol the dam, such as common ravens (personal observation). Data provided by this study has allowed the first detailed description of habitats used by M. leibii. The speciesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; tendency to use large crevices suggests that habitats with small crevices are less likely to be used as roost sites. Although we only measured crevice dimensions (not boulder size), larger crevices are probably created by larger


New Horizons / April 2010

boulders. Therefore, bats may select or avoid talus slopes based on whether they possess appropriately sized boulders. We suggest that future studies should assess whether boulder size influences habitat use by M. leibii. If so, this information could help wildlife managers identify sites likely to support M. leibii.

Acknowledgements This research was made possible by the Summer Undergraduate Research Institute program at the Virginia Military Institute. We would like to thank Dr. Howard Thomas and Dr. Paul Moosman for training us to conduct research with bats and for their guidance in the field. Also, we thank R. Farnsworth and B. Huff for their assistance in tracking the bats.

REFERENCES T.L. Best and J.B. Jennings, “Myotis leibii,” Mammalian Species 547, 1-6 (1997).


H.G. Broders, and G. J. Forbes, “Interspecific and intersexual variation in roost-site selection of Northern long-eared and little brown bats in the greater Fundy National Park ecosystem,” J. Wildlife Management 3, 602-610 (2004). 3 J.B. Johnson and J. E. Gates, “Spring migration and roost selection of female Myotis leibii in Maryland,” Northeastern Naturalist 15, 453460 (2008). 4 P.R. Moosman, Jr., H. H. Thomas, and J. P. Veilleux, “Food habits of Eastern small-footed bats (Myotis leibii) in New Hampshire,” American Midland Naturalist 158, 354-360 (2007). 5 C. Turbill, C., “Thermoregulatory behavior of treeroosting Chocolate Wattled bats (chealinolobus morio) during summer and winter,” J. Mammalogy 87, 318-323 (2006). 6 J.P. Veilleux, “A Noteworthy Hibernation Record of Myotis leibii (Eastern Small-footed Bat) in Massachusetts,” Northeastern Naturalist 14, 501-502 (2003). 7 J.P. Veilleux, O. Whitaker, Jr., S.L. Veilleux, “Tree-roosting ecology of reproductive female eastern pipistrelles, Pippistrellus subflavus, in Indiana,”J. Mammalogy 84, 1068-1075 (2003). 2

New Horizons  u  Volume 4  u  Number 1  u  2010


David M. Allen holds a M.S. in Physics from the University of Virginia and has done graduate work at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. While at UNC at Charlotte, he participated in research in variable stars and optics. At VMI he is working on sonoluminescence and is upgrading the VMI particle accelerator and the Nuclear Physics Laboratory. Mr. Allen is an Instructor and Lab Manager in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Virginia Military Institute. Robert L. Coleman received his Ph.D. in Literatures in English from Rutgers University. His publications include studies on critical theory, American literature, and composition. He is currently working on a monograph on the twentieth-century southern writer James Branch Cabell. Dr. Coleman directs the Honors Program at the University of South Alabama. Norman Hinton completed his doctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin. He has taught at Wisconsin, Princeton, St. Louis University, and the University of Illinois-Springfield. Dr. Hinton has published in scholarly journals on a wide range of topics including Chaucer, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and many other pieces of Middle English and Old English literature. Dr. Hinton is an Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Illinois-Springfield. David W. Johnstone received his Ph.D. from the University of Akron located in Akron, Ohio. The primary focus of his research is on drinking water disinfection and treatment and has published two papers in Environmental Engineering Science.  He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Virginia Military Institute. Christopher S. Lassiter holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from Duke University.  His research interests include the effects of steroid hormones during embryonic development as well as the effects of environmental mimics of steroid hormones.  He is currently an Assistant Professor of Biology at Roanoke College where he also sponsors the Biology Club. David L. Livingston received the B.S.E., M.E., and doctoral degrees in Electrical Engineering from Old Dominion University. His research interests include computational intelligence, robotics, and digital and embedded systems. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE and currently serves as the IEEE Computer Society Region 3 Coordinator. Dr. Livingston is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Virginia Military Institute. 101


New Horizons / April 2010

Edward A. Lynch received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Government and Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia. His areas of specialty are Latin America and religion in politics. His first two books, Religion and Politics in Latin America, and Latin America’s Christian Democratic Party, were on this theme. He is also the author of two forthcoming books, on Ronald Reagan’s Central America policy, and on the political career of Governor George Allen. Dr. Lynch is a Professor of Political Science at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA, where he also directs the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program. Megan H. Newman holds an M.A .in Anthropology and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the College of William and Mary. Her research interests are in the areas of material culture studies, archaeology, and the history of science and technology. She has worked as an archaeologist, history instructor, and museum curator. Dr. Newman currently serves as the Interlibrary Loan Manager at the Virginia Military Institute. Jacob Siehler completed his doctoral studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. His research explores mathematical space in a breadth-first (not depth-first) fashion, which often draws on his prior experience in computer science. Dr. Sieher is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Washington & Lee University. Howard Thomas his Ph.D. in Biology from Northeastern University.  His research centers on documenting mammalian biodiversity and the impact of anthropogenic agents on such biodiversity. Both internal and external funding support his ongoing research. Dr. Thomas is a Professor of Biology at Fitchburg State University where he has also served as Department Chair and Registrar.

New Horizons  u  Volume 4  u  Number 1  u  2010

UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH AT VMI The URI laid the foundation for undergraduate research at VMI through its Department/ Program Innovation Grants for Developing Programs. Innovation Grants provide funding to departments and programs offering capstone research experiences with the following priorities:1) those without a capstone research experience in their curriculum, but proposing to develop and implement one; 2) those already having a plan for a capstone research experience, but needing funds for implementation; 3) those already having a fully functioning capstone research experience, but seeking funds to improve it; 4) and those already having a fully functioning capstone research experience, but seeking funds to reward participating faculty mentors. Cadets seeking research funds may apply to the Wetmore Cadet Research Fund, a competitive grant process which allows them to purchase supplies, to travel to symposia focused on their thesis research, to continue with the previous summer’s research, and/ or to conduct field studies. Wetmore funds are allocated by academic session and are available throughout the year. URI Cadet Research Resources also subsidize travel, allowing cadets to present their project results at meetings/symposia or to conduct field research in preparation for completion of research leading to an honors thesis during the academic year or summer sessions. One of the most successful initiatives of the URI, the Summer Undergraduate Research Institute (SURI) provides funding on a competitive basis for cadet-faculty research teams representing almost every

New Horizons represents the latest facet of the VMI Undergraduate Research Initiative (URI), established in 2001 by directive of the Dean of Faculty, Dr. Charles F. Brower, IV (Brigadier General, U.S. Army Retired). The goal of the URI is to provide cadets with meaningful undergraduate academic research experiences through oneon-one interaction with faculty mentors both inside and outside the traditional classroom environment. Over the course of its history, URI efforts to promote cadet research have focused on the following objectives: • Revision of the curriculum and elevation of cadet standards and expectations making cadet participation in research projects a typical part of the VMI academic experience. • Solidification of faculty support through: 1) incentives merited by the additional responsibilities of supervising individual cadet research projects and 2) the allocation of additional faculty positions in designated areas of expertise. • Expansion of institutional support to cadets involved in research and their faculty mentors.

Since its inception, the VMI Undergraduate Research Initiative has expanded in many directions, thanks to ongoing administrative support, the generosity of alumni organizations, cadets’ intellectual curiosity, and faculty enterprise. Currently, the URI funds various grant programs and symposia in support of cadet research made available to departments, faculty, and cadets through a variety of programs. 103


New Horizons / April 2010

academic department at VMI. Each cadet receives a cash award along with free tuition, room, and board for ten weeks, while each faculty mentor receives a stipend. Cadets also earn 6 academic credit hours for their work. In addition to the mentored research projects, the Summer Institute sponsors an orientation session, guest speakers, and social functions. Cadets present the results of their project in a research symposium held in September. All cadets are invited to submit a proposal to the Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS), held annually in April. Cadet presenters at the URS discuss the results of their research in a poster exhibition hall (informal demonstrations) or in a formal session (lecture format) as part of a special campus-wide day of events. Invited faculty members from other colleges and universities assist in the evaluation of cadet presentations. The three top-rated cadets in each academic division (science, engineering, and humanities) are honored at an awards dinner in the evening. The evaluation of cadetsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; work and constructive feedback we have received from our colleagues from other campuses have helped us to improve the Symposium each year. As an added benefit, the interactions between VMI faculty and the external judges

have laid the groundwork for future, interinstitutional collaborations on undergraduate research. Perhaps the most significant cooperative effort in support of cadet research to date was the 2005 National Conference on Undergraduate Research, jointly sponsored by VMI and neighboring Washington & Lee University. Two thousand undergraduate researchers, along with three hundred professors and administrators representing three hundred colleges, attended the three-day conference held on the hosting campuses. An unexpected outcome of URI-supported undergraduate research activities has been the creation of cadet-developed intellectual property. Currently the URI is assisting several cadet teams through the process of obtaining patent protection for their inventions. Additionally, we have used the real-world examples of these cadet inventions as case studies in an academic classroom setting, specifically as the subject of a marketing and business plan development in a course on entrepreneurship. Source. Dr. James E. Turner, Director of Undergraduate Research, Virginia Military Institute.

New Horizons - April 2010  
New Horizons - April 2010  

VMI Scholarly Publication