KANSAS CITY, Mo. — More than 270 students received their medical degrees on Saturday from Kansas City University.
Along with medical students, more than 120 completed a master's in biosciences, and the first class of psychologists was awarded degrees this weekend, too.
Students like Paula Gomez are determined to change the future of medicine.
"I just can't imagine myself doing anything else. I couldn't have picked another job. I just don't see it, and it didn't scare me," Gomez said.
Gomez immigrated with her family to the U.S. from Argentina 20 years ago. But after graduating from UCLA, she was unsure what she wanted to do.
"I started working for an ambulance company as an EMT. Fell in love with medicine, fell in love with emergency medicine," Gomez said.
That ignited a spark within her, and she applied for medical school, ending up in KC. Gomez is finishing her time in the metro after enduring the depths of COVID-19.
"It was definitely scary at the beginning of the pandemic because we didn't know what to expect," she said. "I was living with my husband, and he is also in health care. We both felt like we were bringing COVID home."
Despite the pandemic, she never strayed from her love of helping others.
"I love the variety of medical conditions in the ER. We see everything and everyone — all age groups at all stages of life," Gomez said. "I just like that even though it's a very small amount of time that I am with them, I can make a big impact and just be exposed to as many people and medical conditions as possible."
At the end of the day, Gomez hopes she can make difference and save lives.
"We are here to help out the communities where we live, and so bringing that to my practice forever," Gomez said.
Her next stop post-graduation is an emergency medicine residency in California.
Gomez is also bilingual and hopes to use her knowledge to help patients in the ER along with hoping to work in a community hospital to serve underserved populations.