'I'm very grateful that the University of Wisconsin-Madison pathology program took [a] chance on me being a non-traditional applicant,' said Wenjing Cao.
Wenjing Cao and her son Hefei Liu have a special reason to celebrate together. They both were accepted into residency programs on Match Day, which happened on March 17, 2023, reports Good Morning America.
Match Day is an annual event in which medical school students and international medical school graduates who applied for residency and fellowship training programs get to know the institutions they have been matched with. It is an event coordinated with the National Resident Matching Program.
Thrilled to be joining the UW-Madison Pathology resident crew! https://t.co/3BW07KBw3p— Wenjing Cao (@WenjingCaoMDPhD) March 22, 2023
Cao, a research scientist at the University of Kansas, graduated from medical school in China and practiced internal medicine there before moving to the US with her family in 2006. On the other hand, Liu is a current student at the Medical College of Wisconsin and will be graduating in May this year. The mother-son duo never intended to apply for residencies together. But when Cao wanted to return to medicine, she decided to reapply for residency for the second time in 2022.
This is gonna be an exciting next 5 years!! https://t.co/dD9HD7Uhgu— Hefei Liu (@HefeiLiuMD) March 18, 2023
And soon it became a reality for both of them. Cao said, "I never thought I would go through this process with my son together. [It's] incredible, amazing, something I feel very excited about." Although Liu knew his mom was going to reapply this year, which is the same year as his, it still came as a surprise. "I thought, 'Wow, this could actually happen.' And somehow it happened and it's still incredible to me."
Last week, they both came to know about the universities they have been accepted into. Cao, 54, will be going for the clinical pathology residency program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Liu, 26, was matched with the radiation oncology residency program at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, which is his hometown.
Liu said, "They're one of the top institutions for radiation oncology in the world and since I grew up in Philly, this is the perfect fit for me and I'm very, very happy to go home and train." Cao also feels excited about the next step in her life. "I'm also very grateful that the University of Wisconsin-Madison pathology program took [a] chance on me being a non-traditional applicant with their unique vision," she said.
Moreover, they are both proud of each other's achievements. "He worked extremely hard... and then [he's] self-motivated and that actually, I often was inspired by him, by his work ethic," Cao said. She also called her son "smart" and "kindhearted."
Meanwhile, calling his mother "biggest supporter," Liu said: "I really had to pinch myself to believe it and I think even then, I had doubts... I'm extremely grateful. I'm proud of my mom. I think both of our journeys to this point were drastically different and they weren't easy for either of us. Having her match with me on the same day really speaks to who she is, as a person, someone who's caring, dedicated and hardworking."
Cao wants her life to be an inspiration to many who are looking for a career change or have had a non-traditional life path. "I hope my story can inspire so many others like me, at my age, [in their] 50s, and as a mother, as a woman, as an immigrant, [anyone] can pursue their dream, as long as you want it," she said. "It's your dream, put hard work into it. Keep positive. Stay motivated. You can get it."