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The Luck of the Graduates: St. Patrick's Day Brings Happy News to the Medical School Class of 2011

Historic Davidge Hall was the site of Match Day festivities on March 17, 2011, when the School of Medicine's graduating class members discovered where they'll pursue the next step in their medical careers.

Held at the same time in medical schools around the country, Match Day is when fourth-year medical students find out the residency program into which they have been accepted.

The National Resident Matching Program conducts the match nationwide, using a computer algorithm that aligns the preferences of applicants with the preferences of residency programs in order to fill thousands of training positions available at U.S. teaching hospitals.

The torturous process takes more than an hour, with names called randomly as each envelope is pulled from a chest.

Ethan Bassett brought a little fun to the suspense by adding musical cues as each of his classmates made his/her way up to the podium, the most popular being the theme from Jaws and the Come on down music from "The Price is Right."

Laura Park was the last one to receive an envelope. As a reward for her patience, she won a Maryland-themed piggy bank into which each student had put a monetary donation before accepting their Match letters. This money is traditionally used for an after-Match celebration.

This year, School of Medicine students matched at 85 hospitals in 28 states (up from 72 hospitals in 24 states last year). Only 28 percent of the class will be staying in Maryland to train, many at the University of Maryland Medical Center, including the president of the Class of 2011, Chris Lemon. "I'm staying here for Emergency Medicine-Pediatrics," Lemon said after opening his envelope.

Others, like Laura Caputo and Nancy Lentz, will be heading south. "I matched at Duke, internal medicine," said a still-stunned Caputo. "We're going to North Carolina!" exclaimed Lentz, bouncing her 2-year-old daughter on her hip as she celebrated landing a residency at Duke as well.

Elizabeth Urban chose not to tear open her envelope at the ceremony. "I wanted something a little more personal," she explained. "I have a lot of family waiting for me to open it with them."

Posting Date: 03/18/2011
Contact Name: Karen Robinson
Contact Phone: (410) 706-7590
Contact Email: krobinson@som.umaryland.edu