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Area graduate receives residency match

Staff writer

When she started thinking about going into the field of medicine, it didn’t take long for Alex Holm-McDowell, a 2009 Peabody-Burns graduate, to discover that her heart belonged in pediatrics.

“My mom worked with almost every pediatrician in Newton,” she said. “When I started thinking about going into medicine, I shadowed Dr. Jantz, (a Newton pediatrician) for a day, and never looked back.”

Years of hard work and determination paid off for Holm-McDowell on March 16 when she participated in “Match Day 2018” at Wichita Botanica.

Holm-McDowell, along with 78 other fourth-year medical students, were matched with a hospital for their residencies. Holm-McDowell was ecstatic after opening an envelope that placed her at her first choice, Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.

“I’ve never been so nervous in my life,” said Holm-McDowell. “I knew I’d match somewhere, but I wasn’t sure if I would be matched somewhere I wasn’t quite as excited about.”

Holm-McDowell has two weeks of classes left before graduating in May from the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita. The residency will last three years and then, hopefully, Holm-McDowell will be a board certified pediatrician.

Holm-McDowell applied to 14 hospitals all over the Midwest and Texas in her quest for a residency match. She heard back from 11 and interviewed with nine. The interviews took place during September and November and she drove to all but one.

“It was a really busy time,” she said.

After visiting all the programs, she ranked them, and the programs ranked all the students that applied. The data was then put into a computer algorithm to determine matches.

Holm-McDowell’s fiancé, Aaron Grunewald, works as a tax analyst for Koch Industries. The couple originally hoped that he would be able to do his job remotely wherever she was placed, but eventually the realization came to Grunewald that this wouldn’t be the case. But out of support for his future wife, didn’t reveal the news right away.

“He waited until my rankings were due to tell me it wasn’t possible,” Holm-McDowell said.

Grunewald will be moving with Holm-McDowell to Missouri.

While she is excited for the numerous big life changes heading her way, Holm-McDowell says there are many emotions that go hand-in-hand with the reality of what is ahead.

“I’m excited but it’s also nerve racking,” she said. “I mean, parents are going to trust me with the welfare of their children. One day I’m a medical student and the next day I’m a doctor.”

Last modified March 29, 2018

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