#SpartanDO students achieve 99% match rate during first virtual Match Day


The Michigan College of Osteopathic Medicine on March 20 held its first ever virtual Match Day—giving medical students an opportunity to experience one of the most important traditions in their field, even under unprecedented circumstances.

There was much to cheer for, as 301 students—representing a 99% match rate for the second year in a row—were matched to a clinical setting where they will train as a resident. In fact, for the last four years, the college has averaged a greater than 99% match rate. In addition, while students matched into 25 specialties across 30 states including Washington D.C., and in Canada as well, 73% of them will stay here in Michigan to complete their residencies.

Match Day is something that no student ever forgets. This year, students from the college planned to gather together on campus and simultaneously open their Match Day envelopes to learn the exciting next steps in their medical journeys.

Of course, things didn’t go quite as planned. As the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic continues and social distancing practices are required, the college moved Match Day online, launching a campaign and a brand-new college hashtag—#SpartanDO — that allowed students to stay connected to their community and cheer each other on from afar.   

The #MatchDay2020 campaign followed three #SpartanDO students—Yuliya Pepelyayeva, Maurice Marshall and Victoria Balogh – and shared their experiences at MSU, what made them want to study osteopathic medicine, their plans for the future, and why they are #DOproud through Facebook posts, tweets and Instagram posts and stories.

Marshall said that his experience inspired him to “partner internal medicine and public health to solve bigger health problems.”

Balogh’s dream is to become a pediatrician.

“My favorite experience in this program has been the Peru Global Health Outreach Program. We got to treat patients in a big city along the Amazon River,” she said. “I got to lead the trip. I loved getting to spend so much time with my classmates.”

Pepelyayeva, a DO-PhD student who came to the U.S. from Ukraine at the age of 15, credited the Michigan Osteopathic College Foundation scholarship for putting her educational goals in reach.

“Without the Michigan Osteopathic College Foundation scholarship, it would have been pretty much impossible for me to afford my education to reach my goals and dreams of becoming a physician,” she said. “I'm definitely very thankful for it. It's absolutely made the impossible possible for me.”

The campaign also featured the three students on the college’s homepage, as well as provided shareable graphics and a printable “I Matched” graphic that students could print out and pose with in photos to share news of their matches over their personal social media accounts.

Pepelyayeva said the virtual campaign meant a lot to her.

“I matched at my number one choice at Oregon Health and Science University!,” she said. “Thank you for sharing my story. I feel very honored and humbled to get this kind of recognition.”

Extending the exciting milestone match moment beyond an in-person event engaged followers on social media, with one person responding to Pepelyayeva’s story, “Thank you for sharing stories like this!! Being an immigrant from Ukraine I LOVE to see the representation."

Last year, 269 #SpartanDO students placed into 19 specialties across 26 states and 56 cities.