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Medical Students: Meet Your Match - 03/18/2015

Medical Students: Meet Your Match

On Friday, March 20, medical students from Johns Hopkins and around the country will celebrate Match Day and find out where they will be training next year.
Release Date: March 18, 2015
Match Day Image
Students and their families celebrate Match Day and anxiously await the moment when the envelopes will be opened.
Credit: Keith Weller, Johns Hopkins Medicine

The wait is almost over for students who will soon graduate from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine: At noon on Friday, March 20, they will open the envelopes that let them know where they will spend the next chapter of their lives training for careers in the medical field of their choosing.

Johns Hopkins’ annual Match Day celebration will take place on the second floor of the Anne and Mike Armstrong Medical Education Building at 1600 McElderry St. in Baltimore, Maryland. The students, along with family members, friends and mentors, will gather at 11 a.m. for a brief program leading up to the dramatic moment at noon, when students will learn which hospital and specialty program has accepted them for their residency. At that moment, students from medical schools around the United States will be doing the very same thing.

Prior to Match Day, students complete lengthy paperwork and on-site interviews with hospitals, then provide a ranked list of their top choices. Hospitals submit a similar list indicating openings, preferred students and specialty or generalist preferences. Each applicant is matched via computer algorithm to the hospital residency program that is highest on the applicant’s list and has offered the applicant a position. Johns Hopkins students are often matched with their first- or second-choice sites.

Couples who are interested in going to the same city can have their applications linked. They will be matched based on the location they ranked highest and where each was offered a residency at a local hospital.

The National Resident Matching Program was started in 1952 with the goal of maximizing happiness by matching the top choices of both residency programs and medical students to ensure universal satisfaction. The program calls its method the “algorithm of happiness.” 

Members of the media interested in covering the event should contact Lauren Nelson (, 410-955-8725) or Taylor Graham (Taylor Graham, 443-287-8560, for information about parking, any other questions or to be put in contact with any of the amazing students featured below.


The Students:

Veronica Hocker: Friends know her as Wonder Woman

Veronica is a single mother, bartender and ballerina turned med student. While completing her medical degree, she also tackled an infestation of bed bugs and a four-hour commute to school. But she wasn’t alone. Veronica found another family at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, one who took shifts babysitting Brinson, her now 4-year-old son, so she could study.

With her degree, Veronica aims to raise awareness and help reduce the stigma attached to mood disorders affecting women, particularly during pregnancy.

She is looking for a residency in psychiatry that helps her save the world, one patient at a time.

Howard Choi: Aims to be “the best part of someone’s worst day”

Howard knew he wanted to be a doctor after a mission trip to Guatemala with the Canadian Peace Corps. He saw impoverished clinics and learned of the great need for international disease control. After returning home, Howard earned a degree from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and worked as a junior faculty member on vaccine research. 

Howard’s goal is to help reform emergency medicine, ensuring that patients are adequately informed and know when to visit the emergency room versus their primary care doctor.

Recognizing that that emergency department visits can be terrifying, Howard says his goal is to be “the best part of someone’s worst day.”

April Sharp: The first in her family to graduate high school

If you had asked her in high school, April would have said she wanted nothing to do with science and math. She is the first in her family to graduate high school, and when she went on to St. John’s College she developed an interest in medicine. In search of a specialty to call her own, she took four years off between college and medical school, working in a basic science lab, completing a postbaccalaureate premedical program and finally participating in a pediatric neurology program. It was then that her passion for pediatric neurology blossomed.

When she's not working, April enjoys time with her young children – from playing trucks in the park to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra children’s concerts. April is looking for a great residency where she can make a difference in the lives of children and stay close to her husband and son.


Onyinyechi (Onyi) Eke: Dreams of bringing hope to those in need

Onyi emigrated from Nigeria with her family in 2006. After earning her undergraduate degree in physiology and neurobiology from the University of Maryland, College Park, she still wasn’t certain what to do next. She considered teaching, research or acting, with nothing but support from her family.

But while discerning a career path, her parents began facing health challenges, and she began feeling helpless and eager to help.

In 2011, Onyi entered the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. During her time here, she has most valued her classmates and teachers, who she says have taught her how to be vulnerable, and that failure is part of the process.

With a belief that hospitals are places where all are treated equally, Onyi wants to help underprivileged patients and families. She is confident that no matter where she ends up, her residency will get her there.

Karlo Perica: Classmates say he’s “the smartest guy in the world”

Karlo left his home in Croatia in the early 90s to escape the country’s civil war. He completed an undergraduate degree in biomedical engineering at Yale University and is currently working on an M.D.-Ph.D. program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. During that time, he has developed a keen interest in how scientific advancements impact everyday medicine.

He hopes to work in the fields of internal medicine and medical oncology. While he admits it can be tough working with oncology patients — knowing that he may lose some of them — he believes research brings hope and can make a real difference in their lives.

In the future, he hopes to run a lab and treat patients, offering treatment options based on clinical trials and new research in immunotherapy.

While Karlo humbly notes that he knew nothing when he entered medical school, his classmates beg to differ. Many of them refer to him as “the smartest guy in the world.”

For the Media


Lauren Nelson

Taylor Graham