Graduating medical students find their residency matches
By Lin Lofley
Anxiety turned to elation in an instant Friday for more than 200 fourth-year students at UT Southwestern Medical School, as they tore open the sealed letters that revealed the next step in their careers.
Friends and faculty joined the students in the Bryan Williams, M.D. Student Center for Match Day, the annual event where soon-to-be doctors all across the nation simultaneously learn where they will perform their residencies.
Over and over again, dreams were fulfilled, sometimes for an entire family.
Jennifer Harris grasped her match letter while she and her husband, Adam, held their two children – both born while she was in medical school – as they all celebrated that her residency won’t require them to move.
“This is exactly where I wanted to be,” said Ms. Harris, who matched in the four-year psychiatry residency at UT Southwestern. It’s also great news for Adam, a second-year medical student.
“Today has been a really exciting day,” said Dr. Angela Mihalic, Associate Dean for Student Affairs. “Our students are heading to some of the top programs across the country. I only saw very, very happy people today.
“We had a large group of students entering residency programs in primary care specialties such as internal medicine (53) and pediatrics (33),” said Dr. Mihalic, “but we also had a lot of students entering specialty residencies such as dermatology (4), emergency medicine (16), radiology (9), and plastic surgery (2). In many of these very competitive specialties, our students did very well.”
Moriah Thompson, a Texas A&M University graduate who has her eye on a career with NASA, matched with the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education in Rochester, Minn.
“That was my first choice,” said Ms. Thompson, who has already worked as a biomedical researcher at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. “I am ecstatic. I feel I have worked for nine years for this, and it has paid off today. I couldn’t be happier.”
Swalpa Udit, a UT Arlington graduate, will leave UT Southwestern with an M.D./Ph.D. degree in May, headed for an internal medicine residency at the University of California, San Francisco.
Ms. Udit grinned broadly and admitted, “I have been daydreaming about living in San Francisco since I started medical school eight years ago. It couldn’t better. It’s a fantastic school and a fantastic program. And it’s located in an amazing city.”
The next step in medical education will offer adventure for the graduates. Some will live in new places thousands of miles from home. Others, such as Funmilola "Lola" Owolabi, will go far, but will return to familiar locales while finding themselves in a whole new world nonetheless..
Ms. Owolabi, who matched in pediatrics, is a Houston native who earned her undergraduate degree at Duke University. She’ll spend the next three years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the basketball archrival of her alma mater.
“The University of North Carolina is a great school,” she was quick to say, “but come NCAA tournament time, I’ll be wearing my Duke T-shirt.”
Former collegiate football player Jarren Section, a Texas Southern University graduate, matched in Orthopaedic Surgery at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, which means he’ll return to the city where he earned a master’s degree in Medical Sciences from the University of North Texas Health Science Center.
Mr. Section credits Dr. Medardo Maroto, Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, with his decision to enter that specialty. “In my first year of medical school I was fascinated with anatomy, especially the extremities,” he said. “Dr. Maroto saw that and really helped.”
Amy Ho admitted upon finding out she had matched in Emergency Medicine at the University of Chicago that she’s excited and also a bit seasonally intimidated. “I fell in love when I was in Chicago, but the frigid cold is something I’ll have to learn to deal with.”
The Austin-area native, who “never thought I’d leave Texas,” braved a minus-19 degrees wind chill when she was in Chicago, “and on the helipad it was probably minus-30. But I could not stop smiling, although it’s possible that the smile was frozen on my face.”