After Pomona: E.R. Physician Kara Toles ’07

My name is Kara Toles, I’m an emergency medicine
physician and a Pomona College graduate. So my job is, it’s super fun, it’s fast paced
sometimes, it’s slow paced other times. I love the variety in the work that I do. I get to see and take care of people who are
in the 80s and 90s, but then also little tiny babies. When I started at Pomona, I came in knowing
that I wanted to be a doctor and believing that I had to be a science major. Biology, neuroscience, etc. And then, it was through the breadth requirements
in your first and second years that encourage you to take classes that span different areas
– Psychology, Sociology, etc – that I got exposure to a Black History course and it
really resonated with me and so I ended up coming into Pomona thinking I was going to
be a Neurosciences major, had that class and I was like “Wow, Black Studies, which is now
Africana Studies, sounds really awesome and it would help me understand more of who I
am and will inform the work that I do in the emergency department from a social justice
standpoint.” So I ended up switching my major in the middle
of my time at Pomona to Black Studies and that really helped me develop into, develop
an idea of what kind of physician I wanted to be, what specialty I wanted to go into. And I know that medicine can be used as a
vehicle for social justice. And so my time at Pomona helped me kind of
develop that idea and helped me develop an idea of what kind of doctor I wanted to be. In the emergency department, we are very purposeful. I mean it’s “the law” but, it’s also in the
culture of what we do to treat everyone as equals in terms of the patients. No matter who shows up at your door, they
are the patient and you take care of them. I’m inspired by badass women. I didn’t stop and think about it until I sat
down and made a list of all the people that inspired me from Pomona. And then I look at the list and I’m like “Oh
yeah! Those are all badass women doing awesome work,
making a difference, and I want to be that too.” Pomona is a place where people can be inspired. I mean, the fact that those women are in positions
of power at Pomona College, says a lot. The current President is Gabi Starr and she
is a black woman and she is the first woman and the first black person to be the president
of a rigorous liberal arts college. That in and of itself is incredibly inspiring
to a lot of people, but especially to women and people of color. So I think seeing women in positions of power
really does a lot to you know, young people who are aspiring to be that.

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