The Match Day intrigue started well before James Bond
showed up, but having 007 in attendance certainly added to
Most of the 120 students in the
School of Medicine's class of 2007 (hence the secret
agent connection) gathered in the Turner Concourse last
week to continue Johns Hopkins' annual tradition of having
fourth-year medical students open their residency letters
in the presence of classmates, professors and loved ones.
While March 15 is Match Day for medical schools all across
the country, most students elsewhere go online to find out
where they will start their careers as doctors come the
fall, or sooner, in some cases.
The National Residency Matching Program pairs the
wishes of the students with the needs of hospitals and
medical centers nationwide. The process begins with
students deciding on their specialization. Then they make a
rank-ordered list of medical centers and hospitals they
want to go to, complete lengthy paperwork and finally
interview on site. The experience ends on Match Day, an
event that regularly features suspense, joy and a few
tears. The 2007 edition was no exception.
Where will you be next year?
Students put their names on the map.
Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS
The festivities began with a staged drama in which two
School of Medicine staff members descended the Turner
stairs with briefcases that held the official letters.
Would-be thieves, dressed in trench coats, attempted to
steal the briefcases, only to be thwarted by a white lab
coat-attired James Bond (actually a medical student),
outfitted with an 007 name badge and medical "spy" gadgets,
including an otoscope apparently equipped with a heat ray.
While the scene played out, the Bond theme song played on
loudspeakers, right up until the finale, when the debonair
med student/Bond escorted the briefcase-carrying ladies to
the table where the all-important letters were placed.
"I think it's safe to say that's the most creative
presentation we've ever seen here at Match Day," said
Thomas Koenig, the School of Medicine's associate dean for
student affairs, who had the dubious honor of following up
the spy scene, which had drawn a rousing applause.
Koenig and other administrators presented opening
remarks, welcoming everyone to the event that was hosted by
the Dean's Office, Development and Alumni Relations Office
and Johns Hopkins Medical Student Society. At the end of
the introductions, Koenig went back to the podium to
instruct the students to pick up their letters and a glass
of champagne to toast.
Anxious students, who huddled closer together, fought
back the urge to open the letters until the count of three.
What happened next, in many cases, were bursts of sheer,
Rows and rows of folded letters
hold the news of the students' residencies.
Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS
Adrianna Jackson screamed when she opened hers, and
then her smile lit up the room. Her dream to stay here at
Johns Hopkins in Oncology had just come true.
"I love this school, the whole institution, so I'm
just so happy to be staying here," said Jackson, who is
from Albuquerque, N.M. "I'm very, very happy."
Before the unveiling, one particularly nervous duo of
students was Beth Froelke and Nathan Maust, who had every
reason to be anxious. The two were engaged to be married,
and the wedding was less than a week away. The couple set
their sights on landing at the University of Michigan, Ann
Arbor. Maust is from Michigan, and Froelke's family lives
in Ohio, so Ann Arbor would be an ideal location, and the
university — a leader in emergency medicine and
surgery — fit their career goals perfectly.
The verdict? They both got their top choice.
"Beth is calling her mom as we speak," said a smiling
Maust. "We're together. Life is good."
Froelke was in tears. It was a lot to take in.
"We're probably going to go home today and start
looking for real estate online," said Froelke, letting out
a laugh. "Next week, we get married, go on a honeymoon, and
the day we get back from that, I guess we're heading up to
Michigan. I'm so excited."
All around the room, in fact, were excited, smiling
faces, many of which bore tears of joy. There were also
hugs galore, as many of the students invited their friends
and family to the occasion.
Sarah Tighe had her immediate family there to cheer
her on. Before she opened her letter, Tighe expressed her
excitement and nerves.
Agent 007 (aka Kent Werner) helps
Cheryl Burk, left, and Doris Golembieski deliver the
Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS
"I've been awaiting my decision for several months
now, so I'm eager to find out," said Tighe, whose first
choice was the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral
Sciences at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. "I've had a great
few years here, and I'd like to stay."
She, too, had good news.
Koenig said that Match Day is a significant milestone
for every medical student, and a proud day for him and the
"This is a big deal for the students," Koenig said
after the letter openings. "It's wonderful to see how happy
they all are."
The event also featured a new Match Day tradition. A
map of the United States was put on a pedestal, and
students were asked to place pins with their names on it to
mark the spot of their residency. The map slowly filled up
as the event marched on, with pins placed from coast to
While final exams still await the students, for one
day the books and lectures must have seemed a million miles