As UF medical students anxiously waited in the Reitz Union Grand Ballroom to learn where they would be spending their residency training, Ryan Meral was worrying for two.
Meral, a fourth-year UF medical student, was one of more than 120 participants in the UF College of Medicine’s annual Match Day on Friday, which revealed the results of the National Resident Matching Program.
The program matches students from 155 of the country’s medical schools to residencies across the country, where fourth-year students train to enter the workforce.
University of Michigan was not only Meral’s first-choice hospital, but it was also his fiancee’s.
Meral and Kimberley Levitt, a fourth-year medical student at USF, have been in a long-distance relationship for the past four years.
The couple is getting married in May and found out Friday that Michigan will be their new home.
Remembering horrible shifts and late-night study sessions, Meral and Levitt were each other’s inspirations to make it through school.
“I’m bringing my teammate to Michigan with me,” Levitt said. “It’s kind of the start of our fairy tales.”
The day was met with tears, hugs and squeals of joy.
Of the 121 successful residency placements, students were accepted to hospitals such as Stanford University, Duke University, the Mayo Clinic, Emory University, Georgetown University and, of course, UF.
Paul Skelton, a fourth-year UF medical student, had been hoping to complete his residency in internal medicine at UF.
“I really wanted to stay here at UF,” Skelton said, “and when I opened that envelope, it was like a dream come true.”
Dr. Patrick Duff, the associate dean for student affairs, has attended more than 15 Match Days during his time at UF.
He said the match process has become more difficult each year because of the increasing number of medical school graduates in the U.S. and in countries around the world.
He said it was a successful Match Day.
It was the first time a UF student had been accepted into a residency program for cardiothoracic surgery, and more underrepresented minorities were matched than in recent years, he said.
Everyone who applied in the competitive areas of neurosurgery and radiation oncology also matched up with a residency, Duff said.
Dr. Nadine Skelton, Paul Skelton’s mother and a doctor of internal medicine, also received her undergraduate degree from UF.
She said she screamed, jumped and hugged him when she heard the news.
“It was not an easy road,” she said. “We’re very proud of him, of all the work he has done, and especially of the young man he has become.”
[A version of this story ran on page 1 - 4 on 3/23/2015 under the headline “Med students successfully matched with residencies”]