“I just can’t even begin to describe how this feels,” he said. “I am so grateful to God and my family.” Then he turned to KNIGHTRO, the UCF mascot, who attended Match Day, gave him a high-five and yelled “Go Knights!” Eldemire did his undergraduate training at UCF before being accepted into its young medical school.

Match Day is the culmination of medical students’ fourth year, when they decide on a specialty and do residency interviews at programs across the country. They rank their top choices; residency programs do the same. Then a computer matches those lists, something like a computerized dating service. Match results are kept secret until the third Friday in March at noon EST. Only then do graduating seniors know where they will spend the next three to seven years of their lives, depending on their specialty. As Dean Deborah German explained, “When you open your envelopes today, you are opening the door to your future.”

Eldemire said he chose internal medicine because he wants to be on the front line helping diverse patients improve their health. Diversity and community service efforts have been his passion at UCF, as he often talks to undergraduates and high school students about his journey as an African American male in medicine. He says Case Western was his top choice for residency because the renowned program helps underserved communities and provides global health opportunities for its physicians.

Many UCF students matched into their top choices for residency, greeting the news with screams, cheers and hugs as they opened their envelopes standing in a circle on the medical school’s Tavistock Green. They were surrounded by friends and family – parents, spouses, children, grandparents and even a few pets. Locally, one student matched at Florida Hospital and five will do their residencies at Orlando Health, including two at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Women and Children. Others will train across Florida at programs like the University of Florida, University of South Florida and Jackson Memorial in Miami. Across the nation, students matched at programs including Harvard, Yale, Vanderbilt, Georgetown, Brown, Emory, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Washington University. They are in specialties including internal and family medicine, pediatrics, radiology oncology, neurology and general, plastic and vascular surgery.

Match Day was just the start of exciting events for students John Axley and Jennifer Druce. The two students are engaged and couple matched at University of Alabama Birmingham. She in internal medicine, he in vascular surgery. Couples matching means both must be offered positions by their desired program – which is especially difficult in a competitive sub-specialty like vascular surgery. UAB was their first choice, and after opening their envelopes the two stood in a long hug.

They will be married in three weeks. “She has been joking, or at least I hope it has been a joke, that if we didn’t match together that the wedding would be off,” Axley said. “Half joking,” Druce responded.

Julia Vaizer matched into her first pick at Detroit Medical Center for emergency medicine. Her family was well prepared, placing a Detroit Red Wings cap on her head as soon as she opened her envelope. Vaizer moved from Russia nine years ago to start college in the U.S. “My mom was a pathologist in Russia, but I’ll be the first doctor in my family to have studied in the U.S.,” she said, adding that the move to Detroit allows her to be reunited with her boyfriend who is studying at the University of Michigan. “I’m just so happy, my family is happy, it’s a great day,” Vazier said.

Eric Jorge matched into pediatrics at University of Alabama, and said he chose the program as his top pick because “I liked the community feel of the program and I also liked that the doctors there were strong in their faith. That’s important to me.” This will be the first time Jorge and his wife Kelly, a nurse, will live outside of Florida. The couple met in high school and have been on his journey to be an M.D. from the very beginning. “He has wanted this since he was four years old,” said Albert Jorge, Eric’s dad. “When he picks a path, nothing can steer him from it.”

M.D. student Scott Furer arrived at Match Day with his arm in a sling. He had been doing an away rotation in Japan went snowboarding for the first time while on break from his studies. A snowboarder’s board got away from him, falling from the top of the hill and hitting Furer, who stayed in Japan for two weeks with a broken arm. When he returned to Orlando, the only time he could get surgery was March 17. His operation concluded at 9 p.m. – 15 hours before match. Furer was beaming as he got his results – All Children’s Hospital at St. Petersburg for pediatrics. The program is run by the renowned Johns Hopkins University. Furer taught children with learning disabilities before coming to UCF’s medical school. “I can’t imagine doing anything else than working with kids,” he said. “I feel fantastic, post-op Day 1.”

To view a video of this story, please visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL1dv8gECSM&feature=youtu.be