Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center
COVID-19 Changed the Journey—Not the Success of Future Physicians

COVID-19 Changed the Journey—Not the Success of Future Physicians

TTUHSC Medical Students Learned Their Match

Match Day photo booth

The COVID-19 pandemic forced changes to medical schools across the country with the 2021 residency recruitment, interview and Match Day processes. Fourth-year students went virtual for their residency interviews, adjusted clinical rotations and lived through the academic adjustments due to the pandemic.

match day packages 2021

Yet, even with the trials of the year, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) School of Medicine fourth-year students met the challenges and participated virtually in Match Day March 19.

Match Day is a nerve-wracking event that has played out on medical school campuses across the country since 1952. Approximately 180 TTUHSC School of Medicine students participated in Match Day and learned where they will be for the next three to seven years for their residencies. The results were sealed in an envelope and opened simultaneously at all of the nation’s medical schools.

TTUHSC Executive Vice President and Dean of the School of Medicine, Steven L. Berk, M.D., said COVID-19 did not deter students wanting to go into the medical field, but instead influenced a new generation of excellence in medicine.

Students write on boards for Match Day

“Few people have been spared the tragedies associated with this disease,” Berk said. “For many, the pandemic has logically created a sense of despair and helplessness, of seeing events as being beyond one’s control. To others, COVID-19 has been a call to arms to the medical workforce. The public health crisis has been a battle cry for many passionate students that want to rise to a generational challenge.”


Months before Match Day, students begin applying to residency programs in their preferred specialties. Students visit sites to evaluate and ultimately rank their preferred residency programs. At the same time, administrators at each site interview applicants and rank them. The National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) coordinates this process and makes the final match algorithm, which is designed to produce results for students to fill the thousands of training positions available at U.S. teaching hospitals.

match day 2021 Covenant branch

Berk said although Match Day is celebrated for one day, the event is actually a weeklong process. The process of Match Day is celebrated at the 155 U.S. medical schools accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. Starting on the Monday of Match Day Match Week, applicants are informed whether they have been matched to a residency program of their choice, but the student is not told the name of that program.


“These students were resilient, stepped up and answered the call to be on the health care frontlines and now will go on to begin their residencies,” Berk said. “We are proud of our students’ accomplishments and share their excitement as they pursue their careers at outstanding teaching programs around the country.”

Match Day Awards 2021:


Woman matched during Amarillo Match Day

  • Outstanding Student in Family Medicine – Sypara Dhuka
  • Chairman’s Award – Connor Jacobsen
  • Outstanding Student in Internal Medicine – Bella Kalayilparampil
  • Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology - Benjamin V. Salazar, M.D. Memorial Award
  • Outstanding Student in Obstetrics/Gynecology – Avery Bramnik
  • Maurice Dyer, M.D. Memorial Scholarship Endowment
  • Outstanding Student in Pediatrics- Monisha Narayanan & Sarah Mende
  • Gerald Holman, M.D. Pediatric Scholarship Award - Mary Girgis, MSIII & Angela Abraham, MSIII
  • Outstanding Student in Neonatology - Aisha Khan
  • Outstanding Student in Psychiatry – Emily Nguyen
  • Outstanding Student in Surgery – Ahmed Abdalla
  • Chairman’s Award – Bradley Osemwengie
  • Steven L. Berk, M.D. Overall Outstanding Student - Bella Kalayilparampil
  • J. Rush Pierce M.D. Medical Student Leadership Award - Ganesh Maniam
  • Mitchell Jones Medical Student Endowed Scholarship - Diego Regalado, MSIII
  • Bernie Mittemeye - M.D. Medical Student Award - Mousab Diab
  • E.K. Jones, M.D. Award - Shree Dharmarpandi
  • Potter Randall Medical Alliance Scholarship - Cheryl Haston Mario Feola, MD
  • Outstanding Faculty Award - Amy Stark, M.D.
  • Outstanding Resident Award - Shaun Wesley, M.D. & Lindsay Porter, M.D.

Covenant Branch Match Day Award Winners

match day 2021 covenant branch with map

  • Best Medical Student in Family Medicine: Phillip Simpson
  • Best Medical Student in Internal Medicine: Tanir Moreno
  • Best Medical Student in Pediatrics: Katerina Keller and Craig Skousen
  • Best Medical Student in Psychiatry: Emily Mendez
  • Best Medical Student in OBGYN: Donna Ayala
  • Best Medical Student in Surgery: Connor Barry
  • Big Heart Award: Andrew Hennecke
  • Utility Award/Pay it Forward Award: Kelly Banta
  • Best Preceptor in Family Medicine: Dr. Chris Rose
  • Best Preceptor in Internal Medicine: Dr. Brad Snodgrass
  • Best Preceptor in Pediatrics: Dr. Shaughn Nunez
  • Best Preceptor in OBGYN: Dr. David Blann
  • Best Preceptor in SUR: Dr. Caleb Sallee
  • Overall Best Preceptor: Dr. Shaughn Nunez

Lubbock Awards

Students walk through door on Match Day

  • Pediatrics – Peyton Bluhm
  • Surgery – Caleb Stewart
  • Ophthalmology – Andres Guerrero (Amarillo student)
  • Psychiatry – Brooke Walterscheid
  • Ortho – Hunter Jones
  • Family Medicine – Anthony Betteridge
  • FMAT – Noriko Merida Morales
  • Ob/Gyn – Samantha Edwards
  • Internal Medicine – Kandis Boothe (Covenant student)

Permian Basin Awards

  • Nnana Amakiri – Outstanding Student Award – Department of Surgery
  • Reid Rivers – Outstanding Student Award – Department of Family & Community Medicine
  • Kristin Kinsley – Outstanding Student Award – Department of Psychiatry
  • Austin Turner - Outstanding Student Award – Department of Pediatrics
  • Joshua Macaluso - Outstanding Student Award – Department of Internal Medicine
  • Maricela Chavez - Outstanding Student Award – Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • Joshua Macaluso - Outstanding Student Award – Patients, Physicians, Population & EPT Course
  • Rebecca Meiser - Outstanding Student Award – Patients, Physicians, Population & EPT Course
  • Lee David Moore, MD – Outstanding Faculty – As Voted by the Class of 2021
  • Chisom Nwoye, MD – Outstanding Resident – As Voted by the Class of 2021
  • Rebekah Redfern – Outstanding Staff – As Voted by the Class of 2021