Impact Stories

Truman Knowles ’23

Ask Truman Knowles ’23 about his favorite professors at Claremont McKenna College, and he will respond with an entire list.

It starts with professors Shane Bjornlie (History) and Blanford Parker (Literature), both of whom, he said, made him “more aware of the power and purpose of language, tradition and hope.” It features three professors whom he credits with enhancing his “memory and mental fluidity.” They are Bana Dahi and Emilie Garrigou-Kempton (Romance Languages and Literatures, Pomona College) and Nathalie Rachlin (Modern Foreign Languages, Scripps College). Finally, he names professors Kyle Jay (Biology), Sarah Marzen (Physics), and David Moore (Psychology, Pitzer College) for contributing to his “development as a scientist” and helping him expand his capacity to “reason and explore.”

Passionate about academic research, Knowles has already laid out a career plan. After graduation, he wants to earn an MD/PhD and work as a pediatric neurosurgeon and researcher in the field of pediatric oncology.

He started along this path earlier this year as an intern in the pediatric brain tumor laboratory of Dr. Amanda Saratsis at the Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. His research focuses on tumors such as diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG). While he describes DIPG as a “complex and unforgiving tumor,” he is hopeful that scientists will find a cure during his lifetime.

Knowles also serves with the Operations Department at UCLA Health, where he is helping to develop system-wide protocols for patient engagement. Specifically, his work over the past year focuses on increasing patient receptiveness to palliative care and advance care planning, which he characterizes as “two beautiful fields dedicated to the fulfillment of a patient's personal values, goals, and wishes for their care.”

At CMC, Knowles serves as the president of CMS Christian Athletes. The organization draws from three Claremont colleges: CMC, Harvey-Mudd and Scripps. 

Hometown: Chatsworth, California

Major: Cellular-molecular neuroscience


McKenna Scholar

Athlete, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps track and field team