University of Mary Washington senior Desmoné Logan wields a rainbow of highlighters at the day planner displaying her dizzying schedule. RA duties get a splash of green. Pink’s for her off-campus job. And clubs? They’re listed – ubiquitously – in blue.
A biomedical major who also runs track, Logan is president of Women of Color, a Student Alumni Ambassador and a Farmer Fellow. And that’s just for starters. Because of her dexterity and dedication, she won this year’s Citizenship Award for Diversity Leadership. With it, she’s a role model, “planting a seed” of intersectionality she hopes will take root at Mary Washington and in her planned future – a career in trauma surgery with a humanitarian twist.
Born and raised in Brooklyn and Queens, Logan moved in middle school to Chesapeake, Virginia, where she found a scant mix of ethnicities and – often under the surface, sometimes above it – a sense of discrimination. “Desmoné is passionate about diversity and social justice because of her own lived experiences,” said James Farmer Multicultural Center (JFMC) Director Marion Sanford. “Her culture and race impact her work.”
So does her commitment to volunteerism, thanks to values her mother instilled. Logan was a teenager donating her time at a hospital when she took a chance, sharing her aspirations with a physician, who let her sit in on surgery. The experience, paired with a dynamic high school biology class and loads of Grey’s Anatomy, got her hooked on the quick-thinking, fast-moving world of emergency medicine.
“It’s mind-blowing, and I want to do it,” said Logan, who came to college with a plan.
Mary Washington’s low student-to-faculty ratio, she reasoned, would give her the individual attention she’d need to nudge her way into medical school. The Student Transition Program helped her connect with minority students and ease into campus life. She’s also a UMW NAACP chapter member who has served as a RISE Peer mentor, worked in the Office of Financial Aid, and rocked the track-and-field triple jump, all while staying focused on trauma surgery.
Another volunteer role, this time as an emergency-room scribe, would give that trajectory a spin. As she began watching patients walk away from life-saving treatment they couldn’t afford, she had a vision – “Emergency Minority,” a nonprofit she’s begun to design to combat this trend. “Physicians hold a lot of power and influence,” she said. “With that power, I know I can create something beautiful.”
She already has. Her Mary Washington career, much of it spent at the JFMC, has traversed a global pandemic. Meanwhile, she’s thrived, joining social justice initiatives, and fostering equity and inclusion – and, yes, intersectionality – on campus, as a member of the inaugural cohort of Farmer Fellows.
“You have to really want to do this work and make a difference,” Sanford said. “Desmoné just kept expanding her outreach.”
As a Fellow, she’s also a Diversity Peer Educator, charged with smoothing the way for younger minority students. She organizes and leads events, helping underclassmen find common ground and their own voices, regardless of race, class, age, gender, sexuality, nationality, disability or religion.
“As I learn and become more educated about all the identities a person can hold, I’m able to acknowledge and respect them,” she said. “Once everyone gets that mindset, we can create a better campus and even a better world.”
Desmoné Logan has been the recipient of several privately funded scholarships, including the Lettie Pate Whitehead, and Mary and Daniel Loughran scholarships.