After the introductory speeches ended, more than 100 University of Toledo medical students rushed a table yesterday that held news of the particular shape their career dreams would take.
Each grabbed an envelope with his or her name on the front and future inside. There were screams of joy, tears of happiness, and group hugs with family members, spouses, and fellow students.
On match day, graduating medical students across the country learn which single residency training program of the several they applied to will be their future home for at least several years.
The institutions invite senior medical students for interviews and then rank the prospects. The medical students do their own rankings of the programs. And a complex computer program cross-tabulates the preferences from across the country and makes matches - just one for each graduating medical student.
A few opened their envelopes and frowned slightly, but only slightly. Even if their first choice wasn't inside, they were still on their way to advanced medical training and prestige.
Not all students were on hand to pick up their envelopes at the event, held yesterday afternoon at the Stranahan Theater.
Toledo native Katie Cabanski didn't get her first choice of the Ohio State University for an internal medicine/pediatrics residency. But she matched with a program she valued highly but had placed lower on her list. She had feared the feeling wasn't mutual. But the University of Illinois at Chicago wanted her, and the computer matched them up.
"I was shocked and pleasantly surprised," said Ms. Cabanski, who wants eventually to work internationally with sick children. "They have a good international program. After I found out, there was some hugging with my family, and then it hit me: 'Oh my gosh, I'm really going somewhere.'•"
Toledo native Dennis Cieply got his first choice of a University of Michigan residency program.
A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Mr. Cieply stressed that whether you graduate from a state or private university, anyone can make it into a prestigious medical school and residency program. "Whatever school you go to, you have to stay focused," he said. "You can do it as long as you're strong and you build good credentials."
School leaders at the match day event said this year's match was perhaps the strongest and most prestigious in memory. Of the 139 students who matched, 14 will train at UT, 10 at Ohio State, and 7 at the University of Michigan.
Three students were accepted at Harvard, including Grant Reed. With the match, he has three years guaranteed with the institution's internal medicine residency program. He then hopes to be accepted for another three years to train in cardiology.
"I chose Harvard. I had some strong mentors who attended Harvard," he said. "The interviews are really about seeing if you will fit in."
Stacey Hoffman, 36, calls herself a "nontraditional student" because of her age.
She chose the University of Toledo as her first choice for residency and felt confident because she knows the doctors and the program well.
There were only two spaces available in the physical medicine and rehabilitation program, she said, but she got the match. "It was nerve-wracking to have it in the hands of a super-computer."
Contact Christopher D. Kirkpatrick at: