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Emotions Run High as Drexel Medical Students Meet Their Matches

March 22, 2016

Match Day 2016
Students at Drexel University College of Medicine celebrate as they open their envelopes and find out the residencies they matched with.

While three Philadelphia college basketball teams competed in the NCAA tournament Friday, it was March Madness of a different kind at Drexel University College of Medicine.

The Student Activity Center at Drexel’s Queen Lane Campus erupted in screams as the clock struck noon and fourth-year medical students quickly and tearfully tore open white envelopes.

“It’s John Hopkins!” someone shouted.

“You did it! You did it!” yelled another as she wrapped her arms around a friend.

Match Day is an annual rite of passage for medical students. The National Resident Matching Program uses an algorithm to match students into residency programs throughout the country. This day, when a student's fate is listed on a single sheet of paper, is the culmination of years of hard work and tough choices.

Diksha Mishra jumped on top of her chair. The “match” in her envelope told her she would begin her career as an emergency medicine doctor with New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City.

“I matched with my number one choice,” said Mishra, who was a student in Drexel’s Interdepartmental Medical Science program before being accepted into the MD program.

“When I opened that envelope, it was like everything flashed back in my head. You remember getting into med school, and a few months ago wondering if you’re going to get interviews, then you remember wondering if you’re going to match. Then you get your number one choice, and you can’t believe you can be that happy.”

Mishra did not know she would go into medicine. As an undergraduate, she studied journalism then switched her major to neuroscience. She decided to complete a post-baccalaureate program at Drexel to earn her prerequisite requirements for medical school.

For Luke Gatta, an MD student from Brooklyn, matching with his first-choice school came with an added layer of relief. He and his fiancé had both chosen to be matched to residencies in North Carolina. On Match Day, he learned that he will be heading to Duke University Medical Center to begin his residency in obstetrics and gynecology.

Two hours after opening his envelope, Gatta planned to fly out of Philadelphia International Airport to meet his fiancé in Tennessee, where she was celebrating Match Day at Vanderbilt.

“It was a big relief that will only last for a day. Tomorrow I’ll be anxious,” Gatta said. “Now you have to step up your game and wonder if you’re ready for intern year.”

But Gatta took the time to enjoy the moment, hugging family members, shaking hands with professors and high-fiving friends. Gatta said it was his grandfather — a Hahnemann Medical College 1954 graduate — who encouraged him to pursue a career in medicine.

“I’m totally grateful for all of the mentors that I’ve had,” he said.

Ninety-six percent of the College of Medicine’s Class of 2016 matched with a residency program on Monday, March 14, which was higher than the 93.8 percent national average. By the end of the week, that number reached 99 percent.

Eighty-one College of Medicine students will be staying in the Keystone state to begin their careers. Forty-nine matched with residencies in New York, 31 in California and 19 in New Jersey. Other states the future physicians will be heading to include Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Illinois. The majority of the Class of 2016 is going into internal medicine. Other specialties are emergency medicine, pediatrics, anesthesiology, family medicine and surgery, among others.

This year’s national Match was the largest on record, according to data from the National Resident Matching Program. 42,370 registered applicants applied for 30,750 positions.