BIDDEFORD, Maine — A flurry of champagne flutes and red envelopes at the University of New England's Biddeford campus Friday.
Many resisted sips, and the urge to open those envelopes, until they got the cue.
"Interestingly I wanted to be an architect."
Annie Liu remembers exactly when she realized wanted to be a doctor.
"My mom had gotten sick and I was really inspired by the doctors who had taken care of her. Sadly I lost her, but I realized I wanted to do more and be able to help people and be a significant part of someone's life," said Liu.
Friday marked Match Day, and Liu was among the more than 120 students who learned where their medical training will take them next and which hospital they've been assigned to for their residencies.
"I think I'm going to feel a huge sense of relief to know," said Amy Callahan, another student.
"They found out on Monday that they had matched, they just don't know where," said Jane Carreiro, Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine at UNE.
She says in Maine there's a major shortage of primary care physicians.
"A significant portion of our doctors are over the age of 55 and 65 and they're going to be retiring soon," she said. "Most of those are in rural areas."
Carreiro says there's another factor that adds to the difficulty of filling the shortage. For this next generation of doctors, most likely, their residencies will take them out of state.
"North of Portland you only have family medicine residencies," explained Carreiro. "You don't have pediatric residencies or internal medicine residencies or even general surgery residencies. So if a student doesn't get into the Maine Med system, they really have to go out of state."
Today, however, in one brief moment Liu is learned where she and her new fiancé will be moving.
"Holy Crap! We got our first choice!" she exclaimed.
Their goal, is to eventually return to Maine.
In a new effort to provide more residency opportunities, Senator Susan Collins has backed a bipartisan bill to authorize nearly $650 million over five years to train medical residents in community-based settings, including rural areas.