Health science students learning how to identify chemical substances will gain a new tool in the next few weeks.
Corban was able to purchase the $15,000 Fourier Infrared (FTIR) instrument through a grant from the Juan Young Trust, an organization that supports students’ health and education.
Dr. Jim Dyer, associate professor of science, expects the instrument to arrive later this month, when students will be able to begin using it.
According to Dyer, the FTIR works in two parts. The first identifies a substance’s family or class. For example, at this stage, ethanol, rubbing alcohol or propanol show a similar pattern because they belong to the same chemical family.
“The other half could be called the fingerprint region,” Dyer said.
To continue the example, the different types of alcohols share a ‘family resemblance,’ but each has a unique pattern within the overall family. FTIR can identify this fingerprint. Currently, students taking Organic Chemistry weigh a substance and approximate the FTIR results. The new instrument, though, can give them much more definite information about their experiments.
The grant started with Dyer’s proposal, which Darrel White, Corban’s director of development, turned into a grant application and submitted to the trust.
White explained that Corban doesn’t apply for grants very often, since the process can be difficult, and rarely produces results. Instead, he has focused on building a relationship with the Juan Young Trust.
“The application process is not as complicated as some of the grants,” White said. “It’s more personal. The representative, Scott Klusmann, really values what Corban does.”
As a result, the trust has awarded Corban three grants in the past two years, including the one to purchase the FTIR. The other two grants helped the school upgrade classroom technology and the human performance lab.
Until now, Dyer’s health science students have had to travel to Western Oregon University or George Fox University to practice using the procedures with similar technology.
“I try to get them hands on experience with the instrument,” Dyer said.
With the Juan Young grant, he can now provide that experience here at Corban.