Hugs, Cheers and Relief at In-Person Match Day Ceremony

Over 250 Sidney Kimmel Medical College students find out where they will complete their residencies.

Minutes before the Match Day ceremony, Nick MacDonald playfully jumped into his wife Brittany’s arms to pose for photos. The beaming couple met as undergrads and got married shortly before they both started at Sidney Kimmel Medical College.

With hearty doses of excitement and nerves, the pair—along with over 250 of their medical school classmates—soon would find out where they will complete their residencies.

“It’s chaos for the next hour,” Nick says. “Then, we can plan the next four years of our lives together.”

Scenes from Match Day
Rosetta Campbell matched at her top choice, the University of South Alabama in Mobile for pathology. (Photos by ©Thomas Jefferson University Photography Services)

The two won’t have to travel far for their next chapter. They matched into Jefferson Health: Nick for internal medicine and Brittany for family medicine. “It will be a new adventure,” says Brittany with a glowing smile.

Optimism filled the Hamilton Auditorium and spilled out into Lubert Plaza on a sunny March 18 afternoon. For the first time since the pandemic began, Jefferson held an in-person Match Day with faculty and loved ones close by.

“I’m taking it all in and enjoying the moment,” says Kai Inguito, who matched at Jefferson Abington Hospital for family medicine. “I’m just happy to be here with my family and friends.”

Scenes from Match Day
After matching at Jefferson Abington Hospital, Kai Inguito celebrated with friends and family.

Sorting through emotions of thrill, elation and then relief, Varun Danda also savored the opportunity to be with all those who supported him over the years. After tearing open his Match Day envelope, he saw his first choice: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York for interventional radiology.

“I’m so grateful to everyone,” Danda says. “It’s surreal to share this moment with them.”

Jefferson students were among 42,500 applicants who vied for some 36,000 spots in roughly 5,300 residency programs nationwide. University leadership praised the students at the ceremony for being one of the first to complete the JeffMD curriculum and persevering in the face of COVID-19.

Match Day Infographic

“For here and evermore, you’re the class that went through a pandemic,” says Dr. Mark L. Tykocinski, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Jefferson and the Anthony F. and Gertrude M. DePalma Dean of Sidney Kimmel Medical College. “You’ve done that with enormous resiliency. From the heart, I want to say how much pride we have in all of you, in what you have accomplished and what you have navigated to get here.”

Dr. Charles Pohl, Jefferson’s Center City Campus chancellor and vice dean for student affairs and career counseling at Sidney Kimmel Medical College, called Match Day a milestone event after a turbulent two years.

“You did not skip a beat,” he says. “You just stepped into your education and continued to provide incredible patient care.”

Specialties receiving the highest number of matches for Jefferson students include internal medicine, emergency medicine, family medicine and pediatrics, Dr. Pohl notes.

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Among them is TJ Lee. He will complete his residency at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in Newark for internal medicine.

“I did research there in college, and I’m so excited to return,” he says. “It’s an accumulation of all the hard work over the past four years.”

Lee’s roommate Joseph Bechay mirrored his joy as he will head to George Washington University in Washington, D.C., for ophthalmology. Bechay was among the 19 students who learned their match several weeks ago.

“It was good to find out early,” Bechay says, “but it’s all about who you share this moment with.”

Scenes from Match Day
Drs. Charles Pohl and Mark L. Tykocinski praised the students for persevering in the face of the pandemic.

With the early matches (ophthalmology, the military and urology), Sidney Kimmel Medical College boasted one of the highest match rates nationally, Dr. Pohl says. The Class of 2022 also featured 28% going into Thomas Jefferson University Hospital or one of its affiliates.

“I’m so happy and proud to have matched at an incredible program, my dream program,” says Angela Alnemri, continuing at Jefferson for otolaryngology. “It’s an amazing day.”

Classmate Mary Blumenfeld felt shocked and ecstatic after learning she will head to Nemours Children’s Hospital/Thomas Jefferson University.

Scenes from Match Day
Medical students Joseph Bechay and Christopher Ahmed were among the early matches for ophthalmology. “It’s all about who you share this moment with,” Bechay says.

“We had to get through a lot of stuff over the past few years,” she says. “To be here and finally say, ‘I did it,’ is just incredible. I’m at a loss for words.”

Rosetta Campbell also saw the weight lifted after matching at her No. 1 choice, the University of South Alabama in Mobile.

“I’m so ready to become a pathologist,” she says. “My dream has finally come true. It’s the end to a long road at the beginning of a very bright future.”

See more scenes from Match Day below.

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