UCLA med students happily meet their match

Pandemonium broke out today on the terrace at Covel Commons when 165 medical students from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA ripped open envelopes to find out where they have been accepted for residency — the next phase of their training as physicians.

It was Match Day at UCLA, an annual tradition that’s celebrated across the country at the same moment on the same day by medical students, their families and friends. This year, some 40,000 individuals nationwide applied for 30,000 residency slots. Nationwide, 85 percent were matched with one of their top three choices. At UCLA, that percentage is expected to go even higher. 

Dr. Kelsey Martin, interim dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine, welcomed the full-capacity crowd of parents, spouses, siblings and children who packed into the top floor of the conference center. “I know your families are all kvelling (bursting with pride) right now,” she said, adding, “We hope you leave medical school with even more idealism than when you entered it.”

Francesca Hernandez (left) and Danielle Wickman

Among the medical students who were on the receiving end of hugs, tears and kisses was Francesca Hernandez, 30, the daughter of Chinese and Vietnamese refugees who fled to the U.S. as boat people during the Vietnam War. From the age of 7, she was expected to stay home after school and on weekends to rear her three younger siblings so that her parents could go to work as a grocery clerk and manicurist. The first in her family to graduate from high school and to attend college and medical school, she matched at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center for pediatrics.

Danielle Wickman of San Diego had to work two jobs in high school to help relieve financial stress on her single mom. Despite a high school counselor bluntly telling her she “wasn’t meant for college,” she thrived at UC Riverside, graduated and entered UCLA’s medical school. Since then, she’s traveled to Malawi to research obstacles to HIV treatment for pregnant women and conducted HIV research in South Africa. She’s going to USC for a residency in emergency medicine.

About 58 percent of the 2016 class will be training in primary care, and 74 percent will become medical residents in California. There are 36 budding surgeons — about 22 percent of the class.

On June 3, they will be receiving their M.D. degrees at  the school’s Hippocratic Oath Ceremony.

Find out more about UCLA's newest residents-to-be. See more photos and videos from Match Day at UCLA.

UCLA medical student Stephanie Young finds out where she will be serving her residency.

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