About The Gazette Search Back Issues Contact Us    
The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University March 19, 2007 | Vol. 36 No. 26
'007 Meets Its Matches

Adrianna Jackson, center, shares the news with friends: She got her wish to stay at Johns Hopkins in Oncology.
Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

The Match Day intrigue started well before James Bond showed up, but having 007 in attendance certainly added to the drama.

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, unbridled joy.

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 letters.
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 school's faculty.

"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 coast.

While final exams still await the students, for one day the books and lectures must have seemed a million miles away.

Nivee Amin, president of the Johns Hopkins Medical Student Society, and John Carey.
Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS

Two for two: It's the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor for Beth Froelke and fiance Nathan Maust.
Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS


The Gazette | The Johns Hopkins University | Suite 540 | 901 S. Bond St. | Baltimore, MD 21231 | 443-287-9900 |