For release: March 15, 2007

GALVESTON, Texas - Shannon Hardy, a graduating medical student at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, got her wish today: The Houston native matched for her first choice in residency programs: the obstetrics & gynecology program at UTMB. It was her 26th birthday.

The match was critical for Hardy because her husband - whom she met at UTMB - is a first year resident in the UTMB pathology program, and she said: "We really wanted to stay in the same city."

Hardy was one of 180 students at UTMB and one of 15,000 students at the nation's 125 medical schools who learned today where they will be spending the next 3-6 years for their residency training.

Match Day is held annually to announce the results of the National Residents Matching Program (NRMP), which pairs graduating medical students with residency programs throughout the country.

The UTMB seniors participating in Match Day included 155 Texans with four students from Galveston County and 39 from Harris County. Of the total, 20 percent (38 individuals) were under-represented minorities.

In the company of family and friends, amid shouts and applause, UTMB's fourth-year medical students, waited in Levin Hall Auditorium at noon to learn their fate as letters announcing residency matches were distributed one-by-one. 

Mary Zelime Ward, a Fort Worth native, and 7th generation Texan, matched at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital - her first choice. There she will train in pediatric neurology - "my dream," she said. 

Colleague Justin Fields, with wife Kristine and eight-month-old daughter Addison, accepted hugs with a broad grin. He matched for a dual residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma, his first choice, and close to his hometown, Norman. 

Class president Jeffrey Cones, of Amarillo, opened his envelope flanked by his father who held Jeffrey's nine-day-old son. A sigh of relief followed: Jeffrey earned a position in plastic surgery at the University of South Florida School of Medicine.

Tan Huaiyu, matched for his first year at UTMB for an internal medicine residency and the remainder at Baylor in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Tan is an M.D./Ph.D. student at UTMB who is studying spinal cord injury and also is the Texas State Champion in power lifting. "It's a happy day," he said, "a very happy day."

Conducted annually by the National Residency Matching Program, the match uses a computer algorithm to align the preferences of applicants with the preferences of residency programs in order to fill the available training positions at U.S. teaching hospitals. The Match has a very high success rate - 93.7 percent of U.S. medical school seniors matched to a first-year residency position. Of those students, 84.6 percent matched to one of their top three program choices.

To view all student matches, see