Faculty Research EDI Award Recipient, Stephen Mezyk, Wants to Give Students a Voice

Published November 28, 2022

A university wide project to recognize faculty research efforts focused on racial equity has resulted in an award for CNSM Biochemistry faculty member Dr. Stephen Mezyk. The CSULB President and Provost's initiative sought research proposals that investigate racial equity, diversity, and inclusion on campus and/or our immediate region while supporting student access and success.

The goals of the inaugural issue of the new FRA-EDI program feature reliance upon our significant Beach intellectual capital to interrogate campus processes, programming, practices, policies, and norms through a racial EDI lens.

Dr. Mezyk is a professor of physical and environmental chemistry. His proposal is one of 10 that have been selected for CSULB inaugural Faculty Research Awards to Promote Racial Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (FRA-EDI) falls under project theme #2 and is titled "Reinventing STEM Scholarship Through EDI Campus Information."

Mezyk's proposal recognizes an equity gap between the first and second required general chemistry courses. These courses have been split over two semesters in order to better prepare students for the increased demand of higher-level chemistry courses. Mezyk notes that while student matriculation rates have remained relatively high for the first semester of general chemistry, student success in the second semester is significantly lower, particularly for underrepresented students.

"Reinventing STEM Scholarship Through EDI Campus Information" will work to identify, quantify, and address the specific difficulties of underrepresented students enrolled in general chemistry courses. In other words, Mezyk will go straight to the source and collect information from the students including what they feel is necessary to get through the gateway chemistry courses. The hope of Mezyk's proposal is ultimately to get student input that will allow the university to provide the appropriate tools for success and amplify the voices and academic needs of underrepresented students.

Check out all of the CSULB campus award recipients on the Provost’s announcement page.