One thing for certain, Match Day, the biggest day next to Commencement, never disappoints.

Hearts beat fast as students and their families wait in their seats wondering who will be called next to the podium. Then, one by one, students get to the stage, each one with a different, emotional account of how they got to this day. 

Fifty-one percent of the students matched in primary care in the fields of internal medicine, family medicine, pediatrics and OB/GYN.

Shantell Ceaser is one of them.

It was a challenging, yet rewarding, road Shantell Ceaser traveled through her medical school years.

A native of Eunice, Louisiana, Shantell Ceaser knew she wanted to be a physician the day her parents bought her a toy doctor's kit when she was six-years-old. Her mind never wavered. She received her B.S. degree in biological sciences in 2007 from Louisiana State University, Shreveport, Louisiana. After graduation, Ceaser worked at LSU Health Science Center, also in Shreveport, conducting research in microbiology. 

In 2009, a blessing came to Ceaser by the name of Elijah Payton Ceaser-her newborn son. Now a single mom, she wondered if her medical career would be put on hold. She needn't have worried.








Shantell Ceaser reads where she matched while
her son stands by.

In 2010, Ceaser was accepted to Meharry's post baccalaureate program and,  without a moment's hesitation, she packed her and 11-month-old Elijah's bags and headed north to Nashville. "I brought Elijah with me from day one," she said. "I couldn't have done it without the love and support from my parents and Meharry." Caser's dad has come to Nashville to take care of Elijah for a few days, a visit that sometimes turned into months. Ceaser said Meharry has always been supportive and welcoming as well, regarding her situation. "A lot of times I would just bring Elijah to class with me," she said. "He was a good baby and never cried. It's almost like he knew what his mommy was trying to achieve."

Elijah, who is now six, goes to school and brags to his friends that his mommy is going to be a doctor. Though he's in school now, he had plenty of Meharry babysitters during his first few years. Ceaser is especially grateful to her 2015 classmates Laura Franklin, Ashley Ford and Jenita Partridge who were on babysitting duty "numerous hours."

Ceaser is not only the first one in her family to become a physician, she is the first one to graduate from college. "My parents are here today," she said. "They are completely overwhelmed with happiness for me and what the future holds for me and Elijah. They have always been my biggest cheerleaders and will always be here for me."

After graduation, Ceaser will be going to the University Hospital & Clinics in Lafayette, Louisiana for her internal medicine residency.

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