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Finding a match in Hershey

On a day when more than 140 fourth-year medical students learned where they will be going for their residencies, Jennifer Kissane was thrilled to find out that she’ll be staying put.

As she tore open her Match Day envelope, Kissane discovered she will spend her radiology residency at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

“Radiology is very exciting to me and it’s great that I’ll have the opportunity to learn it in Hershey where I know I’ll get a great education,” Kissane says.


Kissane is far from alone. Sixteen percent of this year’s 153 Penn State College of Medicine graduates will remain in Hershey for residencies. In all, 38 percent of the class was matched with residency programs in Pennsylvania, and more than three-quarters are headed for university programs.

Her education is not the only demand on Kissane’s time. She and her husband Brendan moved to Hershey from New Jersey in 2004 and are raising two daughters, including one who was born while Kissane was in medical school. The kicker: they’re expecting their third child – a son – this summer.

Family life played a key role in Kissane’s preference to stay in Hershey. “This region fits the lifestyle that my husband and I want for our family,” she says. “We’ve grown to appreciate Hershey and the surrounding area.”

Kissane says she has been able to juggle it all by setting – and sticking to – priorities. Her advice for other students who find themselves with a similar balancing act: “Make sure your family is at the top because when all is said and done, they’re the ones who get you through it.”

Among the other residency-bound students who were happy to see ‘Penn State Hershey’ on their Match Day slips is Jyoti Sharma. The Mechanicsburg native says she’s happy she will remain close to home for her residency in orthopedic surgery.

That’s not to say Sharma didn’t look around. “I always thought I was a ‘big city’ person, but when I started interviewing in some of those places, I said, ‘I can’t do this for five years.’”

This year, more than 16,000 U.S. allopathic medical school seniors and 15,000 graduates of osteopathic, Canadian or foreign medical schools competed for approximately 26,000 residency positions across the United States. That competitive landscape means many get paired up with their second or third choice.

For that and other reasons, Sharma says she feels lucky to have been matched with her first choice. “I’ve met great friends and great mentors in Hershey, and I’ve worked with some amazing physicians.”

Sharma says she might eventually pursue a fellowship in orthopedics to explore another hospital in a different part of the country, but adds she has not given that much thought yet.

As for what may lie ahead for her, Kissane says she, too, has learned to “take each step at a time and not make too solid of plans.

“It’s just a crazy system that until recently, I didn’t know where I’d be for the next five years.”

Penn State College of Medicine Class of 2011: By the Numbers

Headed to residencies in PA: 38%
Residencies in other states: 61%

Going into Primary Care: 35%

  • Family Medicine: 7%
  • Pediatrics: 15%
  • Internal Medicine: 13%

>> Download the complete list

– By Jewell Laughman and Scott Gilbert

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