By Wendy Sarubbi | March 18, 2016 5:13 pm

Neesha Patel is passionate about children, global health, volunteerism – and art. And on March 18, the fourth-year UCF medical student used her lifelong crafting skills to create a special gift for her 90-plus classmates going through National Match Day. She created individual boxes for each graduating senior that held their match envelope, telling them where they would spend the next three to seven years of residency training. When unfolded, the boxes become a mini scrapbook of hand-picked photos from each students last four years at UCF’s new medical school.

The creative endeavor took almost an hour per box – even with an assembly line Neesha and other medical students created. She was still crafting two days before match, gathering photos from the College of Medicine yearbook, those students submitted and even a few she nabbed from Facebook.

“Our class is really close and we’ve gotten to know each other so well,” she said. “I wanted to give everyone something personal that illustrates the so many cool things we’ve done together the last four years of medical school.”

After the match hoopla died down, many students noticed for the first time the collection of photos decorating the inside of their black and gold boxes. Photos of service work, late-night study sessions, birthday parties, class celebrations at the theme parks, intermural sports competitions, the Disney Marathon, even a scan of a medically-themed Christmas card two students had sent to classmates one year.

“These are all of our memories,” said fourth-year student Wendy Carcamo, a Ph.D. who will now do her pediatric training at Orlando’s Arnold Palmer Hospital.

Patel matched into pediatrics at the University of Michigan, her top choice. She chose pediatrics because “I’ve always loved working with kids,” and spent time in high school and college mentoring middle schoolers. She loves to teach and said pediatrics gives her an opportunity to do patient education for both children and their families. “Working with kids is a lot of fun,” she said. “I am still a kid at heart.”

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