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March 24, 2021

Match Day 2021 highlights medical student success

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Zasmine resize news 2On Friday, March 19, Zasmine Hymes-Green, matched at her dream program at UAB in anesthesiology.

For her, Match Day—even in its virtual format—was nothing but a great experience. “Match Day will remain one of my favorite memories for the rest of my life. I was surrounded by family and close friends and we were able to celebrate our achievements together as we scatter across the country for residency.”

Zasmine explains that this match means “progress” to her.

Zasmine says that UAB was a top choice for her going into Match Day. “The anesthesiology program is filled with happy residents, excited faculty, and honest leadership. All of this came across clearly during the interview which led to me ranking UAB highly.”

“I am one step closer to fulfilling my dream of becoming an anesthesiologist. I am truly honored to have matched into this remarkable specialty.”

Zasmine was one of many UAB students to match in the 2021 national celebration. Match Day is a commemorative event, held in conjunction with the release of the National Resident Matching Program results to applicants seeking residency and fellowship training positions in the U.S.

A virtual celebration

For UAB’s ceremony, faculty, staff, students and their families were able to celebrate together via Zoom.

Around 15 minutes before students received results, Nicholas Van Wagoner, M.D., associate dean for Students, kicked off Match Day with welcoming remarks for students—thanking them for their ongoing work over the past four years and highlighting the success of match rates this year. “The MS4 class has been very successful in this year’s match,” he said.

Specifically, he called to attention their tenacity in pivoting during the past year of crisis, advocating for social and racial justice, and volunteering their time through the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also thanked Todd Peterson, M.D., assistant dean for Students, Christina Grabowski, Ph.D., associate dean for Admissions and Enrollment Management, Jason Noah, M.Ed., program director for Student Success, as well as a number of other career advisors in the School of Medicine.

After Van Wagoner’s remarks, Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., FACS, dean of the School of Medicine, spoke to the MS4s, offering a few words on their resilience. He recognized “the anguish of the pandemic” on the students’ past year.

Vickers noted the excellent faculty in Medical Education and how they play a key role in the success of Match Day, as well as the students’ future careers. Speaking to the students, he said: “Because of your training, people in the nation will know you by your compassion due to your medical school background at UAB.”

Additionally, Vickers discussed the three most important days in individuals’ medical school career. “The first important day,” he said, “is the day you get in the medical school. The second day is graduation day, which is a culmination of the past four years. And the third day, Match Day, is when you get to know where you are going—an exciting time period where you get to learn where you’ll spend a significant part of your career.”

“I remember this time period for me with fond memories,” he said. “I really hope it’s the same for each of you.”

Excitement for the next chapter

Emails from the National Resident Matching Program hit students’ inboxes at 11 a.m. Students were given five minutes to silently learn their match results, and then had the option to share live with viewers; over 600 people watched the match live.

Either from their homes or from safe, socially distant public spaces, some students announced with their families or partners nearby. A few students waited to find out their match until they were live on TV—an exciting surprise for all watching.

Tomaso resize webOne student, Madilyn Tomaso, said she applied for her program of choice as an MS3. On matching in the specialty of family medicine at UAB Huntsville Regional Medical Campus, she says, “Huntsville was my top choice! In fact, I am one of three UAB students that are part of the Integrated Family Medicine Residency Program in Huntsville. I have had the opportunity to spend the past year getting to know the faculty, the hospital and clinic, as well as many of my future patients.”

She says that her training in Huntsville helped her successfully match. “It has been a wonderful experience and I made the decision not to apply to other programs which removed a lot of the stress of applying to multiple programs.”

Although this year’s Match Day was virtual, Madilyn says, “It was still a very special day for my entire class. A small number of us, with the help of the alumni association and dedicated student volunteers, were able to meet in person to announce our match via Zoom. I was so grateful for this opportunity because it allowed us to share in the joy and excitement together.”

When asked what this match means for her future, she says, “After many years of sacrificing and hard work, I will be the first physician in my family and specializing in family medicine is a goal I have worked towards for many years. I hope to grow in my clinical knowledge and to learn how to truly practice the art of medicine so that I can serve the great state of Alabama for many years to come.”

MeredithLuke resizeAdditionally, Meredith Thomley and Lake Casals couples matched at the University of South Florida. Luke matched into internal medicine and Meredith into dermatology. She says, “To be able to train together in our desired specialties is a dream come true.”

Meredith says that “Match Day was not only the culmination of four years of hard work in our studies, but also the ultimate celebration of the dear friendships we have made during medical school.”

“We chose to open our letters at home with immediate family, then rushed to meet up with our classmates and best friends to announce the results to the folks who encouraged, affirmed, and cheered us on every single day of medical school.”

On how they celebrated, she explains, “After hearing we successfully couples’ matched, we popped confetti poppers, feasted on sprinkled doughnuts, and toasted to our next adventure! Our family treated us to a celebratory dinner where we laughed and dreamed up all of their future visits to see us in Tampa. It was every bit as perfect as we could have dreamed.”

Joshua Lloyd resizeLikewise, Joshua Lloyd says he is very excited about match at the University of Alabama Tuscaloosa Family Medicine Residency Program. “Tuscaloosa was my number one choice, so I was excited when I found out that was where I matched.”

Joshua celebrated his virtual Match Day with his cousin, who attends University of South Alabama, “together with family and friends, some who were in person and many on Zoom, to announce where we matched.”

He says his Match Day included “having brunch with family, which included a waffle bar, pecan pie muffins, bacon, breakfast casseroles, fruit etc. We had a great time!”

When asked what his match means for his career, he replies, “Matching at Tuscaloosa provides me with the opportunity to become a well-rounded family practice physician, while also pursuing my interests in sports medicine. I am appreciative to the UAB School of Medicine for exceedingly preparing me to match at such an excellent program as the Tuscaloosa campus, as well as my future endeavors in medicine.”

Watch it again

Students matched all over the country including at UAB, Emory University, Stanford University, UCLA, Vanderbilt University, University of Michigan, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, University of Tennessee Memphis, Washington University, and so many more.

Enjoy a re-play of the Match Day 2021 ceremony here.