Each year, 19 awards are given out to recognize individuals who fight for equality and diversity within their communities.
The Long Beach chapter of the American National Association for the Advancement of Colored People chose two people from Cal State Long Beach for this recognition.
Carmen Taylor, Cal State Long Beach Vice President of Student Affairs, and Forouzan Golshani, Dean of the College of Engineering, were honored during the 38th Founders Celebration Dinner Nov. 2 at the Long Beach Hilton. First-time awardees, Taylor and Golshani were presented with the Zelma Lipscomb Award and the Higher Education Award, respectively.
Lipscomb was one of the three founders of the NAACP who created a group to address issues that relate to discrimination and disparities in areas such as health, incarceration, immigration, unemployment and education.
According to organization president Naomi Rainey-Pierson, awards are given based on individual’s service, collaboration, expertise, background and effectiveness in their communities.
“To receive an award of a person that was a civil rights pioneer, humanitarian and activist made me feel really nice,” Taylor said. “[This] particular one really spoke to me.”
As VP of Student Affairs, Taylor has gone out of her way to help students succeed by giving authorization to students when they need help dealing with emotional or financial problems and disabilities.
“I’ve always advocated for those in school,” Taylor said. “I can remember times when I was in 2nd and 3rd grade and I would speak up for other children. It’s something that’s always been apart of me.”
Taylor said she practices giving her time and energy to whoever needs it, whether it be at home or on campus. She said her grandparents from the South instilled in her a drive to help others.
“It’s hard for students to trust and I think that’s because our environment is so crazy right now, but if they just give one opportunity for a person to help them they will see that the administration is very giving at the university,” Taylor said.
According to Rainey-Pierson, one of the reasons both Taylor and Golshani received these awards is because of the way they work together to support programs, one being guardian scholars, a university program focused on helping fostered youth.
Golshani has worked in creating other programs to ensure student success.
During his 10-year tenure, he has helped create the Beach Engineering Student Success Team, which has increased diversity in engineering and lowered the student dropout rate.
“Much of what I have tried to do in my life has been towards social justice and making the playing field equitable for everyone,” Golshani said.
For him the success team was just another piece to ensure that every student who comes to the College of Engineering will be supported. After its initial creation, he says they have seen an increase from 2,800 to 5,000 students become part of the engineering college population. This is a part of his nonstop work in helping bridge the gap between the successful and the underrepresented.
“Of all of the awards I’ve received, this award actually meant something to me because this is all about what my life has been about,” Golshani said.
Outside of the university, Golshani has shown his support to the NAACP over and over again. According to Rainey-Pierson, he has helped them set up their STEM program, helped them provide internships and provided them website designers.
“He’s been a male role model in engineering and science,” Rainey-Pierson said. “The thing I am most proud of is Dr. Golshani doesn’t just delegate—he has been one of the best deans to be active himself.”
In the future, Golshani’s goal is to help close the gender gap in the college of engineering so there will be more females in the workplace. He also wants to continue to increase diversity. It’s a main goal to show that engineering is a good profession for anyone and if they go to him, they will be supported.