Emily Behnke started out pursuing a career in nursing, under the assumption that it was the only medical career that would work for her. After she took a microbiology class at Lake Superior College, she fell in love with the branch of science that deals with microorganisms.
“The day I spoke with MLT Program Director Virginia Haynes was the day I switched my major. I had found the career field I had been interested in since childhood. I’ve never regretted the decision.”
Emily Behnke’s search for a college education was driven by affordability. “I was feeling overwhelmed about how much I would end up owing in student loans at universities. I looked into transfer programs, and found out that a medical laboratory technician associate degree at Lake Superior College completes half the coursework I needed for a bachelor’s degree in medical laboratory sciences at St. Cloud State University.”
Behnke will graduate in May 2019 with her medical laboratory technician A.A.S. degree. She will start her clinical practicum in January 2019 at St. Luke’s in Duluth and at the Hayward Area Memorial Hospital. Once approved by her employer, Behnke will take St. Cloud State University classes through Lake Superior College’s interactive television (ITV) to complete her medical laboratory scientist bachelor’s degree by long distance learning.
She praises her LSC instructors for their dedicated teaching and professional background. She notes that each instructor has worked in the field for 10 plus years, meaning the experience they interweave within lessons and labs are reminiscent of a professional laboratory. “They want students to succeed, and have a fundamental understanding of the theories and practices covered.”
As many students do, she has a lot on her plate. She juggles her MLT Club President duties, and works a part-time position at St. Luke’s as a phlebotomist. When she’s not in the medical world, Behnke enjoys backyard gardening and painting. After completing her bachelor’s degree, she plans to pursue a SBB-Specialist in Blood Banking and relocate to the Hayward, WI area.
One of the best parts of the MLT program for Behnke is the intellectual challenge. “The hardest thing for me to master has been the course in hematology, learning to differentiate different disease states that cause white blood cell types and abnormalities. I am very thankful for having such patient, helpful instructors.”
Behnke believes that a career in MLT is a wonderful option for those looking to play an active role in patient care and diagnosis behind the scenes. “There are jobs literally everywhere in the country, from huge reference labs with complex tests, to small physicians’ offices that only run small panels of tests. There’s a place for everyone.”