Match Day: Stritch students take next steps in their medical careers


George Hoganson (center) celebrates on Match Day after finding out he’ll do his pediatric neurology residency at Washington University in St. Louis—his first choice. 

George Hoganson took a different road to medical school than most.

The son of a physician and a nurse, he felt drawn to a career in the health field—but not as a doctor. He started working as an Alzheimer’s researcher and was moved by the patients’ stories.

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“Working with the older adults in my research, I realized what an honor it was to help people as they progressed through their illness,” Hoganson said. “Health is so much more than just a physical disease or ailment. It is multidimensional and I knew that I wanted to be a part of that.”

Married and with three young children, Hoganson will soon graduate from Loyola’s Stritch School of Medicine and begin his second career. On Friday—commonly called Match Day—he and his fellow fourth-year medical students learned where they will do their hospital residencies and take their next steps as physicians.

For Hoganson, there was plenty to celebrate. He will be going to Washington University in St. Louis—his first choice—to complete his residency in pediatric neurology. 

“It is one of the best programs for pediatric neurology,” Hoganson said, “and I just can’t wait to get started. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but when I opened that envelope it was amazing. This is just such a wonderful feeling.”

Linda Brubaker, MD, dean and chief diversity officer at the Stritch School of Medicine, had words of encouragement for all of the students before they opened their envelopes.  

“You are amazing students and we know that wherever you go today, you will elevate the level of care to men, women, and children across America,” Brubaker said.

The students, who wore T-shirts that read “May the odds be ever in your favor”—a riff off the movie “The Hunger Games”—broke out into a flash mob dance to celebrate the occasion. Then at 11 a.m., they tore into their envelopes with their family and friends at their sides.

Vanessa Alonso, a first-generation permanent U.S. resident who is pursuing a career in primary care/adult internal medicine, rejoiced with her mother when she saw she had received her first choice, matching at the University of Chicago.

“I’m so excited,” Alonso said. “All the hard work over these last few years is represented on this paper. I am extremely grateful and overwhelmed. U of C is bringing care to many who are underserved, and that’s what I want to do.”

Born in Colombia, Alonso moved here with her mother when she was 12 and has dual citizenships. For most of her life she has dreamed of becoming a doctor. Her experience at Stritch has fueled her desire to serve those most in need, especially those in the Hispanic community.

“We came to this country with nothing, but I am where I am because of the hard work, love, and dedication of my mother,” Alonso said. “She taught me to follow my dreams and thanks to her and Stritch, that’s what I’m doing.

“As a Hispanic woman, I am very aware of the disparities my people encounter in our health system. It is my goal to help close that gap.”

By the numbers

>> 59 percent of the Stritch class will be staying in the Midwest.

>> 36 percent are staying in Illinois.

>> 16 percent are remaining at Loyola.

>> 34 percent will be in primary care residencies.

>> 66 percent will pursue specialty training.

>> Learn more at the Stritch School of Medicine website.