Well-traveled students ready for next step

By Lin Lofley / March 21-27, 2011

So Yeon Paek and Geoffrey Cho, two fourth-year medical students who’ve already traveled the globe on different paths, saw Match Day as yet another step on their respective journeys to become physicians.

Ms. Paek, who matched in dermatology with Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital, brought her parents to the March 17 Match Day event. Her parents, Ki and Christina Paek, owners of a small business in Brownsville, came to the U.S. more than two decades ago. They put a son through Texas A&M University, and now their daughter has a degree from Yale and soon will graduate from UT Southwestern.

“I feel good about my match,” said Ms. Paek, who was a finalist for the 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship for Community Service. “I felt really happy with all the programs that I ranked, but Henry Ford felt best for me. I was in Michigan for a while last fall, and I’m glad I matched there.”

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A veteran of international travel, she has been a part of medical missions in the Yucatan Peninsula and Ciudad Juarez, in Mexico, as well as Ghana and China. She also participated in an educational mission in Inner Mongolia and was a manager at The Monday Clinic.

Ms. Paek came back to Dallas for Match Day from Brownsville, where she’s working a rotation in a clinic in her hometown. Soon she’ll be off to India for work and travel before returning for graduation.

For Mr. Cho and his fiancee, Yukiko Miyauchi, a research technician in internal medicine at UT Southwestern, Match Day marked the end of a grueling week. After the devastating earthquake and tsunami that savaged Ms. Miyauchi’s Japanese homeland, the couple flew to her hometown, about 100 miles south of the quake’s epicenter at Sendai. They found her residence wrecked, and members of her family injured and hospitalized. Then they returned to Dallas so Mr. Cho — who grew up in Hong Kong and Taiwan and attended both UT Austin and Stanford — could be informed about the next step in his training.

“I matched in internal medicine at UT Southwestern, and I’m very grateful,” he said. “I visited several places, but this is where I wanted to be, for a number of reasons.”