Medical students celebrate successful Match Day
March 19, 2021
March 19, 2021
Richard Ferro, MD ’21, was just a kid when his grandfather told the family this boy would be a doctor someday.
For Ferdinand Joseph Ferro, it was the legacy of his own dream as a Spanish immigrant. He never got to wear a white coat and study medicine in America. But his grandson always carried that wish close to his heart.
On Friday, Ferro learned his medical education will continue with a family medicine residency at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. Once more, Ferro felt his grandfather bring him close.
“One of the last things that I said to him on the phone before he passed away was, ‘Guess what? Your grandson is going to be a doctor.’ That’s what I told him,” Ferro said. “I think about that a lot. I carry that with me a lot.”
Ferro was among 99 students at Quinnipiac’s Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine who learned of their residency placements through the National Resident Matching Program. Members of the Class of 2021 were among the 48,700 medical students applying for 38,106 residencies — both all-time highs — in The Match, which uses a computer algorithm to produce a destination and a discipline for the next three or more years.
Overall, Netter students matched with residency programs across the country, including New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, University of Chicago Medical Center and University of Arizona College of Medicine, along with Connecticut affiliates Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons/Stamford Hospital, and Trinity Health of New England St. Francis Hospital.
The Netter students matched in 18 different specialties and subspecialties, including emergency medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, anesthesiology and urology. The residencies cover 21 states.
Along with his grandfather, Ferro said he was inspired by his mother, Karla, and his father, Richard, who attended medical school in the Dominican Republic, but the school closed before he could finish. Ferro said his family’s narrative is rich with persistence and diversity.
“My grandmother on my dad’s side is Cuban, and my mom is Costa Rican,” said Ferro, who has served on the national board of the Latino Medical Students Association. “For a lot of us, we’re the first ones in our family to get to this point. The idea of it being a generational struggle is a common thread. It’s an absolute privilege to be a part of this community.”
Jordan Edgren found herself eating pizza next to Daniel Hernandez outside during orientation week at Netter almost four years ago. She remembers poking fun at the Los Angeles native for only bringing a peacoat to survive Connecticut winters. Little did they know they’d soon be keeping each other warm as their friendship blossomed into love during their time in medical school.
They were thrilled to learn they had matched as a couple to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center; Edgren in internal medicine and Hernandez in psychiatry. And what made the day even sweeter was the news that their close friends from Netter — Zoe Frolking and TJ Schneider, also Class of 2021 — would be joining them there. It’s the first time two Netter couples matched at the same place.
For both couples, their dreams of becoming doctors became a lot more vivid today. Edgren’s parents are hospital pharmacists at UConn Medical Center, so she was exposed to a hospital environment early. “I always loved the perfect mix between the sciences and the puzzles that come with medicine, and helping people,” she said.
After her three-year residency, Edgren hopes to do an infectious disease fellowship. She explained that infectious diseases have fascinated her since she was 14, and her interest has only intensified since the pandemic.
Netter was her dream school, as she wanted to remain in Connecticut. One of her favorite Netter courses involved problem-based learning, and her instructor was Dr. Robert Bona, a hematologist at Smilow Cancer Hospital in New Haven. “He was phenomenal, so knowledgeable and inspiring, and he let us work through cases without jumping in too quickly. That led to learn the material really well rather than having it just be told to us,” she said.
For Edgren, one of the most exciting parts of her medical training was her clinicals with Dr. Michael Simms at St. Mary’s Hospital in Waterbury. “He was really hands on, and you had to jog to keep up with him as he flew around the hospital.” She admired his rapport with patients and his amazing repertoire of stories.
Hernandez was the first in his family to graduate college. He loved philosophy and science, and gravitated toward psychiatry for several reasons. He was a fan of the “Dragnet” TV show and the detective work performed by the fictional Joe Friday. He likened it to doing good mental status exams in psychiatry. He also enjoyed “Fraser” in which the title character was a psychiatrist. But a rotation he had during medical school at the Yale Child Study Center convinced him. One of the fellows there had done his residency at Dartmouth, and talked it up. “That played a huge role in our decision to apply there,” he said.
He also remembered the personal touch that admissions dean Mark Yeckel lent to the admissions process. “Meeting the faculty, it felt like a family at Netter, and Dr. Yeckel was just the beginning,” he said.
Zoe Frolking and TJ Schneider were elated to find out they would be joining their friends at Dartmouth Hitchcock — their No. 1 choice. Growing up in New Hampshire, Frolking loved science and wanted to work with people, so she knew medical school would be the perfect blend. The couple met as lab partners in the anatomy lab their first year.
“We spent a lot of time together studying, and now it seems she is stuck with me forever,” Schneider joked.
The couple is finishing an elective course now, working at a rural clinic in Fort Kent, Maine, where Frolking spent her third year of school. She said the experience allowed her to treat many types of patients. Her residency will be in pediatrics.
“Pediatricians are at the heart of the community, and I absolutely loved my pediatric rotations at UConn and Yale; they reinforced my desire to work with children and families,” she said.
Schneider and Frolking labeled the Netter faculty “extremely supportive and excited to see us succeed.” “They go to bat to find you clinicals or get you the experience you are looking for,” Frolking said.
Schneider, who will do a surgical residency, praised the rotations he had at Waterbury Hospital with Dr. Scott Kurtzman and at St. Vincent’s Medical Center with Dr. Christine Van Cott. “Working with them, it became clear to me that I wanted to do surgery.”
He noted that both doctors were very supportive during his residency applications. “During our interviews, we could tell the quality of the Quinnipiac name has gotten around, and the students who came before us laid a path of excellence in the medical community,” he said.
Katie White, MD ’21, breathed a sigh of relief when she learned that she would begin her residency at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford this fall.
“It’s one of those things you can’t explain to someone unless they’re going through it with you,” said White, who will specialize in OB-GYN.
The Westborough, Massachusetts, native shared the moment with her boyfriend and mother. She was happy to match so close to home — and with one of her top residency choices. “I also know many of the residents at Saint Francis well and know that I’m going to get great training.”
White completed her third-year clerkship at Saint Francis, an experience that proved to be the most formative of her medical education, she said. As White performed pelvic exams and other procedures for the first time and interacted with female patients of all ages and demographics, she knew she had chosen the right specialty. She looks forward to guiding teenage girls through their first gynecological appointments, young mothers through their first pregnancies, and older women through changes later in life.
“Women’s health is one of those specialties where you really impact a patient at a substantial level,” she said. “It’s growing and people are realizing that we need more OB-GYNs, especially in underserved populations.”
Following her residency, White hopes to pursue a fellowship and subspecialty training in reproductive endocrinology, helping women with fertility and female endocrinology issues.
For Dr. Bruce Koeppen, founding dean of the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine, Match Day is framed by a proud standard of educating medical students who are well trained, compassionate and collaborative.
“It’s been quite the year with many, many challenges,” Koeppen told the Class of 2021, “but you rose to those challenges, and now, you’re ready to begin the next phase of your training.”
**Indicates more than 1 student matched at this institution in this specialty
#Indicates a Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine Affiliate
^Indicates a Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine Alumni has matched at this program and specialty previously.
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