‘A momentous time’: OUWB Class of 2024 celebrates Match Day
An image of students celebrating Match Day
McKenzie Allen, Yasin Sahin, and Parisa Bastani celebrate Match Day 2024 at OUWB.

In the back-and-forth battle between a global pandemic and the OUWB Class of 2024, the class emerged clear victors on Friday, when they celebrated Match Day.

They were among nearly 45,000 of their peers across the U.S. to participate in the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP), the annual event that reveals where most graduating medical students have been accepted for residency training.

The soon-to-be physicians gathered at Oakland University’s Oakland Center, where they learned they would be going to places like Mayo Clinic, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of California Los Angeles Medical Center, and Brown University.

There were plenty of smiles, hugs, cheers, and even fireworks.

“This is a day that will rank as one of the most memorable days in a physician's life,” said Christopher Carpenter, M.D., Stephan Sharf interim dean. “Ask any physician in this room…Match Day is the one day they have never forgotten.”

For additional information, including more stats and the full list of matches, view the OUWB 2024 Match Day page

“It’s not just about the opportunity, but what you do with that opportunity,” he added. “No matter where you end up, I am sure you will achieve great things and make OUWB proud.”

Other speakers at the event were, Berkley Browne, Ph.D., associate dean, Student Affairs, Daniel Carey, M.D., president, Corewell Health William Beaumont University Hospital, and Oakland University President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D.

“In life, you never know where the road may lead,” said Pescovitz.

“Wherever you go, whatever you do, the key is to remain open to possibilities and to be positive when the unexpected arrives. And remember what brought you to this moment was your decision… your passion…to serve.”

Students like Ryan Ko were elated.

“It’s really a momentous time for all of us,” he said. “We put in so much hard work, went through a pandemic, a Step One grading change, and despite it all, our class matched so well.”

“I just have so many emotions,” he added.

'An absolutely incredible day'

An image of students celebrating Match Day

Andrew Vrtar celebrates with his family learning that he matched in anesthesiology at University of California Irvine Medical Center.

The match process begins in the fall during the final year of medical school, when fourth-year medical students apply to residency programs. Residency programs interview applicants throughout fall and early winter.

From mid-January to late February, applicants and residency program directors separately rank each other in order of preference and submit the preference lists to NRMP, which processes them using a computerized mathematical algorithm to match applicants with programs.

OUWB students matched in 24 states. (Eleven students have transitional years before their final destinations as residents. Only their final destinations were counted in statistics.)

Additionally, they matched in 20 different specialties. The top four, in order, were internal medicine, anesthesiology, family medicine, and pediatrics.

Collin Braithwaite matched in orthopaedic surgery at Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education. His wife and two children attended the Match Day celebration with him.

“This day means absolutely everything to me and my family,” he said. “It’s been years and years of hard work and sacrifice to try and accomplish our dreams. It’s an absolutely incredible day.”

Thirty-eight students – or 32% of those who matched Friday – will stay in Michigan.

Nineteen students (16%) will be participating in residencies at Corewell Health Hospitals in Dearborn, Royal Oak, and Grosse Pointe in 11 specialties.

“We want to think locally in terms of serving our communities and I think we’ve done a really good job in that regard,” said Carpenter. “But we also want our students to have opportunities where it best meets their needs and their career goals.”

“We’re excited about the numbers staying at Corewell Health and within the state, but also just as excited for every student who matched in a place they were excited to go to.”

‘Such a relief’

An image of students celebrating Match Day

A group of students pose for a photo after learning where they matched. 

At noon, students were handed envelopes containing details of where they matched.

After a short countdown, they ripped them open and learned where they would be headed.

Tears of joy streamed down Aubrey Haughn’s face as she took it all in after learning she matched in family medicine at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University - Lake Forest.

“It’s just such a relief,” she said. “It makes me feel so appreciative of all of the support that got us here. And it helps me reflect on the difficult times we had in med school, how we were able to push through it, and now we’re headed to all of these amazing places. We worked so hard for this moment.”

The Class of 2024 started at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Browne noted that the journey of the class was atypical, but that she believes the members of the class will be better off having endured what they did.

“This class is extremely resilient,” she said. “Their first two years were pretty much all remote because of COVID and in a lot of ways, what med school is supposed to be wasn’t for them.”

“For them to have achieved so much in light of that and the regular challenge of med school makes me so proud of them,” she said.

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Match Day 2024

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Match Day 2022

Marisa Stratelak had her own kind of challenges. Five weeks ago, she gave birth to twins. They attended her mother’s Match Day celebration, along with her husband, Momo Traore.

Together, the young family celebrated as Stratelak learned she matched in anesthesiology at University of Illinois College of Medicine.

“There is so much excitement, so many emotions…I’m really excited,” she said. “We’re going home, finally, to be with my parents.”

Stratelak said she and Haughn are best friends and were especially excited to have matched close to each other in the Chicago area.

Others shared in the excitement and relief brought by the day.

“It feels very rewarding,” said Oyinkansola Akinpelu, who matched in general surgery at University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School. “General surgery is hard, but I'm excited about where I'm ending up. I did an away rotation there and I loved it. I'm excited to go back.”

“Not a lot of people get to experience this, so being able to is amazing,” said Nell Brigoli, M4, what matched in pediatrics at Wake Forest Baptist Medical School. “Seeing all the love around, not even just from my family, but everyone else is amazing. It’s the right people that are going into medicine.”

“I’m still in disbelief and shock this happened, because this (Ohio State) was my number one choice,” said Donna Kayal, who matched in emergency medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “Finally getting to be together is amazing, especially with not being able to see each other in the beginning due to COVID.”

“It’s nice to share this with all the people who have supported me through all of this. It’s the support of your loved ones that gets you through the tough moments,” said McKenzie Allen, who matched in pediatrics at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. “The people who rally around you helps you get here.”

“It’s the cumulation of what I’ve been working on since I was a little girl. I wanted to be a pediatrician since I was 5-years-old.”

Carey left all of the excited students with a final question designed to inspire.

"You are ready for Match Day and all the great possibilities that your match list represents," he said. "My question is … Is the residency that you match with today ready for you?"

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at [email protected].

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing webpage.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.