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MARILYN HAGERTY: Match Day generally good for seniors in UND Medical School

Christina Harmon1 / 2
Marilyn Hagerty2 / 2

She started out as a CNA — a certified nurse assistant — when she was in her teens.

Now, at age 37, Christina Harmon will graduate in May from the School of Medicine at UND. And this past week, she has been making arrangements for moving to Fargo with her husband, Jason, and four daughters. It is there she will do her internship in internal medicine.

She is one of 59 senior medical students who learned on national Match Day, March 15, where they will complete their residencies.

She never dreamed when she was a high school student at nearby Fisher, Minn., that she would someday become a doctor.

Along with others in the class of 2014, she will graduate in May from the UND School of Medicine. On the blustery first day of spring, medical students across the country opened envelopes telling them whether their requests for internships had been accepted.

The room was quiet at UND except for the sound of ripping open envelopes. The same event was going on March 21 at medical schools all over the country. And also at North Dakota campuses in Fargo, Bismarck and Minot — places where some medical students do their final two years of work after spending the first two years at the School of Medicine in Grand Forks.

Christina Harmon has been wearing a happy smile ever since she opened her envelope. She wants to stay in this area. And her husband, Jason, who is in real estate business, was buying a house in Fargo.

For her and all the others, just knowing where they are going is a big load off their minds. For example:

  • Sergey Kulikov was beaming with joy when he found he has been accepted for a preliminary internship at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. It is there his wife Priyanka — whom he met at UND — is finishing her internship in gynecology. And he has been accepted in another year for his specialty in radiology at the University of Vermont in Burlington.
  • Dan Almquist, who is originally from Thief River Falls, will be on his way to the University of Nebraska for his specialization in internal medicine. These are happy days for the family including his wife, Andrea, and their two children — with another child expected soon.
  • Lacey Kessler, who came originally from Aberdeen, S.D., to follow her dream of being a doctor, is staying in Grand Forks. This is where she wants to be. She will do her post-graduate work at Altru to become a general practitioner.

“There is a need,” she said thoughtfully.

. . . The need for geriatric care has been on the mind of her classmate, Christina Harmon, ever since Christina worked as a teenager with elderly people as a Certified Nurse Assistant.

Christina is an example of the old saying, “anything is possible.” She has worked along in medical school while keeping her family close. With her family, she looks forward to her residency in internal medicine at Sanford in Fargo. She has learned to work hard and balance it with family life. Looking ahead, she knows the hours are long during an internship. She also knows there is a cap of 80 hours a week.

She is among the increasing number of medical students who make their way through and balance their studies with family life.

For her, a favorite evening would be having popcorn with her family and staying at home.