Matt attended O'Gorman High School in Sioux Falls, SD and upon graduation, he was fortunate to receive essentially a full ride scholarship to a South Dakota state college or university of his choosing. He decided on Mount Marty College because it offered what the larger schools couldn't, a college that not only had outstanding academic programs, but professors who know all their students personally and with a strong conviction to instill in their students the concepts of integrity, community, and faith.
During Matt's four years at MMC, he had the opportunity to be elected to various leadership positions, and little did he realize at the time that these would form a strong foundation of skills that he would use today in numerous committees that Matt has been asked to serve on. He was elected by fellow classmates to be Dorm President and was also the Vice President of the MMC Faith Advisory Council. As Matt states, "To those who say you need to be Catholic to go to MMC, I would say you are sincerely mistaken, as there are a large number of students from all types of religions." Not being Catholic, Matt was so moved by Sr. Marielle Frigge's passion for teaching about God, he took multiple religious study courses even though he was a Biology and Chemistry major. He's indebted to Sr. Marielle, who not only helped him edit his papers in her religious classes, but also helped Matt edit numerous papers for some of his science classes, as well as going above and beyond helping him prepare for his medical school applications. Matt adds, "We became good friends during my four years at MMC, and it was an honor to have her as my prayer partner." And of course, Professor James Bowers: he challenged Matt to achieve more than he ever thought was possible. As Matt tells the story, "Just the other day, I was talking to a colleague who said I didn't know you went to MMC." His very next statement was, "Did you have Professor Bowers as a teacher?" I said, "I didn't think it was possible to graduate from MMC without having Professor Bowers as a teacher. I was honored to be asked to be an Anatomy and Physiology Lab Assistant for Professor Bowers. Professor Bowers' course in Anatomy and Physiology was as challenging as any class I took in medical school!"
One unique experience for Matt was being part of the MMC Men's Lancer Basketball Team that was the only, or one of the very few in the nation that had 7 Academic All-American basketball players with a 3.5 GPA or greater. It's a testimonial that MMC can excel in academics and athletics while providing their graduates with all the skills necessary to succeed at the next level.
Following graduation from MMC in 1999, Matt attended the University of South Dakota School of Medicine graduating in 2003. During his time there Matt was honored with the:
George Rinker Award for Excellence in Anatomy
Satish Koneru Award for Excellence in Physiology
Karl H Wagner Award for Excellence in Pathology
Francis O. and F. Ellis Kelsey Award for Excellence in Pharmacology
University of South Dakota School of Medicine Outstanding Academic Achievement Award
Graduated first in his Medical School Class Matt had the opportunity to interview for Radiology (x-ray) Medical Residencies at the top programs in the country including: Mayo Clinic, Harvard, Stanford and Johns Hopkins. While interviewing for residencies, Matt learned that he was competing against 650 applicants from various medical schools for 12 radiology residency positions at Mayo Clinic. Of these 650 applicants, he was told 35 of these students also graduated #1 at their respective medical schools.
Matt was honored to be chosen by Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN as a Diagnostic Radiology Resident (finished residency in 2008). He was also selected into an advanced Radiology Training Fellowship program at Mayo Clinic specializing in Musculoskeletal Radiology in 2009. Matt's wife, Dr. Meredith Hayes also completed her Fellowship in Musculoskeletal Radiology at Mayo Clinic in 2012. He taught Meredith while she was in her first year as a Radiology Resident. They dated for 5 months before becoming engaged and were married within the year on July 11th, 2009. Matt adds, "My greatest achievement is meeting my wife while at Mayo Clinic. She is my best friend in the world."
While Meredith was working on completing her residency at Mayo, Matt became co-director of Radiology at Winona Health in Winona, MN. The Winona Radiology program was consistently rated in the 95th - 99th percentile in the nation! However, as Meredith moved closer to completion, Sanford Health, Sioux Falls, SD was recruiting them both to return to Sioux Falls in 2012 to start the Sanford Health Musculoskeletal Radiology Program. Matt and Meredith work closely with Sanford Orthopedic Physicians providing care for patients of all ages and have been fortunate to work exclusively with athletes from the state's colleges and universities including: USD, SDSU, Augustana, and USF. Matt states jokingly, "We would love to work with all the MMC athletes, but we may have trouble convincing the Sisters at Sacred Heart Monastery to switch to Sanford Health since they have this "small" affiliation with Avera Health."
As far as future career and personal goals, Matt strives to provide the best world class care for patients in South Dakota and in the surrounding states. Teaching Radiology courses to medical students and residents at the USD School of Medicine is an opportunity he (they) would like to continue to pursue.
Matt adds, "My wife and I have been fortunate to be able to continue pursuing our interests in orthopedic radiology research and publications. Meredith recently won the "Top Paper at The Society of Skeletal Radiology" which was subsequently selected for presentation at the International Radiology Conference in Europe.
While contributing to this story and reminiscing about Mount Marty College, Matt concludes by stating, "My experiences at MMC convinced me there is no limit to what you can achieve. MMC will instill in you an unshakable sense of faith that will allow you to excel in life beyond your wildest dreams. I would never have guessed that upon graduating from O'Gorman High School in 1995, that I would go on to graduate from MMC with a 4.0 GPA, finish at the top of my class at USD Medical School, and train at Mayo Clinic in one of the top Radiology Residency Programs in the country.