While surfing the internet during winter break, Ainiwaer Kaiwusaier happened to find his major.
“There was this one winter break where I was on the computer and for some reason I was on the SDSU website,” Kaiwusaier said. “Then I saw this major [medical laboratory science] and I had never heard of this major before. When I looked at it, I felt that it was a way better fit for me and seemed more interesting.
“I clicked on the link, looked at the program’s page, looked at what one could do for a profession, went to YouTube and watched videos about it … it was just perfect for me.”
At the time, Kaiwusaier was a prenursing student. Despite wanting to work in health care, he didn’t feel that nursing was the right fit for him.
As it turned out, medical laboratory science was a perfect fit.
“I love looking at things under the microscope and figuring things out,” said Kaiwusaier, a native of Urumqi, China.
Through his time at SDSU, Kaiwusaier said that his greatest challenge has been lab work. While he just finished a semester with 18 hours of lab work in addition to classes each week, Kaiwusaier still enjoyed it.
“You get a specimen like blood or a tissue sample, you just do a lot of exams on it,” Kaiwusaier said. “Based on the results, you help the physician decide what disease it might be.”
This semester, he has a clinical internship or rotation with Avera Health in Sioux Falls. He will take the board exam in June to become a certified medical/clinical laboratory scientist.
Kaiwusaier came to the United States as an exchange student, living with a host family and studying at O’Gorman High School in Sioux Falls.
“The first year was really hard for me because I was only 16 years old and I had never lived on my own before,” Kaiwusaier said. “My host family was really great and they helped me out with everything.”
Kaiwusaier said that Brookings is a welcoming place, especially to international students.
“I was really shy and had culture shock when I came here … most people don’t care if you can’t speak perfect English,” Kaiwusaier said. “Try different things; they will make your experience much better, but also try hard in school. That’s why we are here.”