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Daniel Logan returned to college to help fulfill his lifelong dream of providing humanitarian aid to refugees or disaster victims. It wasn’t easy to find an academic program in the United States that would prepare him for such work. But at Sacramento State’s College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Logan’s impossible dream became mission accomplished.

“I wanted to find a foundation for a career in humanitarian relief,” says Logan, 29. “I saw that Sac State’s Geography program would be the best fit, with a broad cross-integration of different topics and different places, and being able to look at migration and environmental hazards.”

Logan wants to help those in need. For the last two years, after transferring to Sacramento State from community college, he studied Geography with a focus on Human Geography while working on a minor in History. He credits the quality of the faculty and staff at Sac State with helping him succeed.

“I really appreciated that professors took an interest in my work and my studies and my success, and it was not just a matter of passing or failing but really trying to see students succeed to the best of their abilities in whatever field they are in,” Logan says.

An internship at Opening Doors, a nonprofit refugee resettlement organization in Sacramento, has turned into a part-time job for Logan. “I will do a lot of the basic assistance tasks that Americans take for granted, like finding a place to live, making appointments with doctors, getting training in the English language, meeting with employment developers and trying to find a job,” he says.

Jill Trainer, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, says she is pleased to recognize Logan with the 2011 NSM Dean’s Award. “Combining academic excellence with active humanitarian service, Daniel Logan is an exceptional representative of the Department of Geography, the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Sacramento State,” Trainer says.

After commencement, Logan plans to work at Opening Doors and apply to graduate school, where he will work toward a master’s degree that focuses on disaster management/response or humanitarian assistance, followed by a career in disaster response, refugee studies, climate change mitigation or humanitarian aid.

“I really am excited about the opportunity to gain as much knowledge and skills and experience to help the people who are greatest in need,” Logan says. “I’m already living the beginning of the dream.”