by Mohammad Moustafa
We were approaching the time of year where high school students in Montana can experience what Montana State University-Northern (MSUN) has to offer within the varied fields of Technological Sciences, Health Care, and Criminal Justice. TekNoXpo, the designated name entitled for the event, was a month away from fruition. An inspired business professor wanted to meet with my supervisor and I to discuss a new approach for this event.
Sure enough, his inspiration enlightened a creative idea in combining the branch of Sciences to the application of statistical analysis in the business world. This idea needed a new outlook on what could be offered in a way that is mutual and coherent. As such, it was up to my supervisor and I to identify what activity befitted his strategy. A look of contemplation masked our faces as we monitored the instruments used in our Fuels Analysis labs. Taking a few into consideration, we managed to decide on two instruments that were efficient and indirectly related. Both were used in the application of light, esoterically understood by scientists as the electromagnetic spectrum. This spectrum introduced different types of light that corresponded to different wavelengths, and therefore, distinct frequencies. The two instruments that were chosen utilized two types of rays: UV and Infrared, in the detection of molecular compounds present in the fuel.
With these two set in mind, the material could now be set to introduce what light is, how it’s used and the importance of testing fuels. A worldwide organization by the name of ASTM sets policies and regulations for the quality of fuels. This would mean that a range of numbers could be generated by the use of these instruments, and then taken for statistical analysis. As this idea was relayed to the business professor, it was gradually becoming tangible and ideal for students. In conjunction with this idea, a handout packet needed to be assembled for the students. A demanding process, I began by drawing a storyboard to outline the necessary steps for students to move from one station to another. The packet consisted of five sheets of paper, giving an introduction to alternative fuels, the importance of fuels testing and quality control, how math and science take part in fuels, and an insight into how light is used in the detection of chemical properties within the fuels.
When the day finally came around, students were given an introductory on fuels with objectives that outlined the necessary expectations. They were then fashioned into groups to be assigned to lab instrumentation. Collecting their results, they were then sent off to the business professor to perform the statistical analysis on fuel significance. As a conclusion, the students were also presented with a short quiz, testing their attention on the objectives outlined throughout the event. With an acceptable rate of success, the conjunction for this event presents a gateway for more creative and educational ideas for future events at MSUN.
Mohammad Moustafa has an educational background in ethics, business, and management. In recent years Mohammad has had the aptitude to incorporate environmental science knowledge into his professional experience. Mohammad will be serving at the Montana State University-Northern Advanced Fuels Center and will assist the research scientist and their associate in the development and management of new science content, school summer activities, science camps and learning seminars.