Ana Valdez couldn't have asked for any better news.
After dedicating the last four years to her studies, the graduating Weill Cornell medical student landed her first-choice residency at the University of California, San Francisco in anesthesiology. And she's not going alone. Her boyfriend, Jesse Bastiaens, will also complete his psychiatry training there.
"We're excited and relieved to get the best residency for the both of us," she said. "We're doing it together."
Valdez and Bastiaens joined 102 of their fellow Weill Cornell M.D. and M.D.-Ph.D. students who learned where they will be doing their residency training — the next three to seven years of their medical careers — during national Match Day on March 21. More than 40,000 graduating medical students from across the country competed for some 29,600 residency positions — 500 more slots than last year and an all-time high.
Weill Cornell celebrated its best match ever, with 86 percent of all postgraduate residency positions located at institutions ranked in the top 50 by U.S. News & World Report.
"That's truly a remarkable accomplishment," said Dr. Laurie H. Glimcher, the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College.
Overall, 16 will complete their residences at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, five at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center, and two will work at both. Some 47 seniors will stay in metropolitan New York.
Eleanor Emery, 25, of Connecticut, was in Italy during Match Day, but that didn't mean she wasn't able to celebrate with her classmates. She beamed into Griffis Faculty Lounge through Skype, and watched as her roommate, Vinay Patel, unsealed both of their envelopes. The pals are both headed to Boston, Ellie to Massachusetts General Hospital and Patel to Brigham and Women's Hospital for residencies in internal medicine. They begin June 8.
"I'm very excited about the program," Emery said. "I think it's just a perfect fit for me."
Griffis erupted in cheers, applause and the clinking of champagne flutes as the students celebrated their matches. Every one of Emery's friends got their first choice.
"It's a real testament to our class and how hard they worked," she said.
Match Day is the culmination of a four-year journey for graduating medical students, one of the last milestones before graduation. More than half of U.S. seniors matched to their first choice.
"We wish you the very, very best," Dr. Glimcher said, "and we hope to see you in the future as accomplished alumni. I know you'll make us proud."
Edmund Chen, 28, of New Jersey, worked hard to earn his surgical residency at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, but he couldn't have done it alone.
"Weill Cornell gave me all the tools to get where I wanted to go," he said. "I can't wait for the next step in my medical career."