Tears of joy for medical students on Texas Tech Match Day

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - March Madness took on a different look at Texas Tech's Merket Alumni Center on Friday, where instead of basketball, it was a set of envelopes that everyone was anxious to see.

It's called Match Day. Since 1952, it means that medical students across the country receive envelopes on the same morning, open them at the the same minute to learn where they will go for their residency, then they each pin a map to show where they will spend the next three to five years of study.

Dr. Steven Berk, Dean of the Texas Tech School of Medicine, says, "Today, we actually had 160 students on four campuses all opening their envelope at the same time at 11 a.m.''

The four campuses refer to branches in Amarillo, Odessa, and two in Lubbock. Aside from the main campus at the Health Sciences Center, new this year, 26 students were matched from the Covenant branch of Texas Tech's school of medicine.

That's what brought a brother and sister together today to open their envelopes at the same time.

Mike and Kristen Russel will both get their medical degrees in May. But they are not the only Russell on the road to practicing medicine.

Mike says, "We're the first generation but our youngest sister is jumping in here in next year in occupational therapy."

Mike learned today that he is on his way to the University of Iowa to study Orthopaedic Surgery.

His sister, Kristen, will study Ophthalmology in Nebraska.

With great pride, Dr. Berk announced that 16 percent of these graduating doctors will stay here to further their degrees in Lubbock. Also, he says almost half of this class will pursue a career in family care, which is especially needed in West Texas.

Dr. Berk said, "This is a critical day for them and a day of great success. The match is becoming more competitive. There's more and more medical students and less residency programs so it's really a good sign of success that everyone here matched in a good program."

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