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USD Medical Student Juggles School and Family Time David Christianson seems to operate on a motto of going all in or all out, particularly with academics. He a senior at the University of South Dakota (USD) Sanford School of Medicine, where he is a member of the Gold Humanism Society and president of the South Dakota Chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. He exercised this drive to achieve in his early years by graduating from high school at age 17 due to skipping a grade. However, he later dropped out of Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts a year shy of graduation because he decided he didn’t want to be an engineer. After working in automobile restoration for a few years, both in his hometown of Long Island, New York and then California, he got his first taste of South Dakota life after marrying his wife, Melissa, a Chester, South Dakota native, and moving to the state shortly thereafter. After residing by Brookings for a time, they decided to return to California. “When I was in my 20s, I was largely trying to figure out what I wanted to do for a career while also trying to make enough money to support myself,” Christianson said. It was when he was finally at a place of financial security that he received news that changed his direction in life. A friend’s toddler daughter was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a brain tumor that typically ends a life within 10 months of diagnosis. Having had two children himself by that time, this news affected Christianson deeply. “I pictured having to live through some of the things they were going through, and it was very sad to me,” he said. Upon looking into the disease, he discovered that there hadn’t been much research done on it in the last few decades. A problem solver at heart, Christianson decided to make a drastic life change. “I wanted to go into a field that would allow me to work on (DIPG), if possible,” he said. With his wife’s support, Christianson looked into schools that would best help him accomplish his goal. Knowing he would have to finish an undergraduate degree, and that living in South Dakota would be easier on his family than staying in California, the family relocated to Yankton in 2012. “USD is the only medical school in South Dakota, and we really liked Yankton as a town to live in,” he said. “It has a great school district, great neighbors and is the perfect size for us.” Christianson became a student at USD at that time and graduated with a bachelor’s in chemistry University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine student in 2014. He entered the Sanford School of Medicine that same year to specialize in neurologic David Christianson stands in front of the Vermillion Medical surgery. Clinic where he is currently undergoing a Rural Family Medicine rotation. He will graduate from USD in May. vCHRISTIANSON continued on page 13 It’s not too early to think about a Precision AC Tune-Up! Precision AC Tune-Ups should be done by a Kalins trained technician. Why? •Because we have 97 years in the business •Prevents costly breakdowns •Extends the life of your equipment Tune-U p Speci al O $ nly 89.9 5! (Hurry o ffer Call or stop by today! ends Ap ril 15, 20 18. Regu larly $12 9.50) 2018 Broadway, Yankton, 605-665-4348 HISVOICEvMARCH/APRIL 2018v3

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