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Match Day 2024: Ceremonies and celebrations mark the next big step in the lives of KU medical students

Along with others nationally, KU medical students learned where and in what specialty they will take the next step in their career path

Medical student stands at microphone announcing her match while an illuminated sign with the words Match Day 24 is behind her
Kansas City campus students cheered each other’s next big career move! A total of 56 students matched in Kansas and 136 matched in 37 other states.

Every third Friday in March, medical schools across the country throw a big surprise party. The annual celebration known as Match Day is the crossroads where hard work meets next steps.

After ranking their top choices for residency programs, graduating medical students find out on Match Day which program matched them back. They learn where they will live, work and grow their new career.

On Friday on the University of Kansas School of Medicine campuses in Kansas City, Salina and Wichita, families and friends of graduating students joined in for Match Day ceremonies and celebrations.

This year, 192 KU students matched in 22 specialties — 56 matched with residencies in Kansas, and 136 will train in 37 other states.

“Arguably, the most important day in a medical student’s career is Match Day,” said Robert D. Simari, M.D., executive vice chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center, in his address to the students, faculty and staff. “For our fourth-year students, that day is today. Due to its significance, medical school graduates remember their own match days. Mine was in 1986, when I stood in a KU campus auditorium and opened the envelope, while my wife, seven months pregnant, watched.

“Today, students will open their envelopes with families and friends watching in real-time via FaceTime or on social media. The notification process may have evolved, but the feelings are all the same. Hopes and fears are combined, and our lives are instantly changed forever.

“Best of luck and congratulations to this year’s medical students and to all our students whose futures are coming into focus in the last months of the semester.”

In Kansas City

Mary Mitchell is from Overland Park, Kansas, and attended Olathe North High School. While an undergraduate at The University of Kansas in Lawrence, she double majored in biology and East Asian studies with a Japanese language component. She took a gap year after college and worked as a medical scribe. “It was a good experience,” she said. “I got clinical exposure and doctors shared their insights with me.”

Currently in her anesthesia rotation, Mitchell found out she matched in an ophthalmology residency at KU. After graduation, she will travel to Portugal with friends she met in her first year of medical school.

Nicholas Choi graduated from Blue Valley North High School in Overland Park, Kansas, followed by majoring in neuroscience at Creighton University in Omaha. “The brain always interested me and besides being pre-med, I minored in psychology,” he said.

A very social person, he said he always enjoyed the clinic experiences and wants to work with underserved populations. “I always felt like my end goal was always to return to Kansas for medical school,” he said. During a rotation, something clicked and he chose urology for his residency program. He matched with KU.

In Salina
Medical students in Salina sit on the steps of a large building with columns
Salina’s Match Day 2024 with Dean Tyler
Hughes, M.D., and Scott Owings, M.D.,
associate dean

Thanh Nguyen was born in Hue, Vietnam, but grew up near Denver. He went on to major in aerospace engineering at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He married his wife, Caitlyn (currently an attending physician), in 2016, then moved from San Diego to Independence, Kansas, in the southeast part of the state. Nguyen took all his prerequisites at nearby Labette Community College. The couple moved to Manhattan, Kansas, in 2019 where he took his Medical College Admission Test and immediately applied to KU. After commuting to the Salina campus for a year, they moved there in 2021.

“I was part of the Salina cohort, which has been a great experience with the classmates that I have,” he said. Throughout medical school, he considered internal and family medicine and even general surgery. But he hoped for a residency in internal medicine with the goal to become a hospitalist. He matched with an internal medicine residency in Loma Linda University-Murrieta in California and hopes to find a house there big enough for their two dogs (Stuart and Ellie), one cat (Bella) and one potbellied pig (Emma).

In Wichita

Joshua Ng is from Overland Park, Kansas, and did his undergraduate years at KU in Lawrence, double majoring in human biology and Spanish. He joined the U.S. Army in 2020 and has attended medical school on the Army Health Professions Scholarship Program. “Early on, I was strongly leaning toward psychiatry,” he said. “Luckily, I had a great psych experience during my clinical years, confirming my interest.”

Medical student stands beside a map of the United States filled with pins
In Wichita, 71 medical students stuck in a
pin in a map to show where they will begin
their residencies July 1.

Ng is a second lieutenant in the reserves, and when his residency starts, he will be promoted to captain. The scholarship requires students to do their residency at a military hospital before spending a minimum of four years in military service. Eventually, Ng said he would love to return to practice in Kansas City, Wichita or Dodge City. Ng matched with a psychiatry residency at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center in Fort Cavazos, Texas.

Tyler Martin is from Andale, Kansas, and majored in chemistry at Wichita State University. Having grown up just outside Wichita, he feels a deep connection to the community, which is why he chose to attend medical school at KU’s Wichita campus. He set out to study neurology, trauma and oncology. “When I came across interventional radiology (in rotation), I realized I could be involved in all those interests, and it captivated me in a way I knew it was what I wanted to do the rest of my life.”

Martin will move with his wife, two kids and three dogs to do his residency in radiology, having matched at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. Following his residency, he will work in military medicine for six years, and predicts he will likely return to Kansas and go into academic medicine.

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