Sophie Dessureault

I have had some amazing travels across the world and been to places I never imagined I would visit.  Life has had its ups and downs, but overall, life has been good.


Unexpected but wonderful path

Education
BSc Biology, 1987

Where are you from originally?
I was born in Quebec City, but I grew up in Dartmouth, NS.

Where do you live now?
Tampa, Florida.

What have you been up to in the years since graduating from Dalhousie?
BSc and MD (1990) at Dalhousie, then internship and general surgery residency (1999) at University of Toronto, as well as PhD (1999) at University of Toronto. Then surgical oncology fellowship (2001) at University of South Florida (Moffitt Cancer Center) in Tampa, FL. Assistant Professor at Moffitt Cancer Center from 2001 to 2007, and Associate Professor since then.  Adopted a 2-day-old infant in 2009.

Have you ended up doing what you expected to be doing after graduation, or has life taken you on a new, interesting path? This can be career or life in general.
New and interesting path!!! In every way. I never thought I would end up in the USA, let alone Florida! I never imagined that I would adopt an infant as a single mom at the age of 43!  I have had some amazing travels across the world and been to places I never imagined I would visit.  Life has had its ups and downs, but overall, life has been good.

Are there things you learned at Dalhousie (in the classroom or outside the classroom) that have served you well in your time since graduation?
Dalhousie gave me an amazing foundation for the rest of my academic life. Not only the course work (and I still have memories of many of those classes and assignments!), but also the clubs (I conquered my fear of public speaking by joining the Debating Society and got to debate along with the likes of Ian Hanoomansing when he was still a law student in the 1980’s!), and the social network.

Are there any staff or faculty members that stand out in your memory? If so, why?
In undergrad? I don’t remember names, but my English teachers and my first-year biology teacher come to mind.

Think back to when you were in high school and trying to decide where to go after graduation – What drew you to Dalhousie for your degree?
I lived in Dartmouth.  I was in the midst of radiation treatment for a tumor in my leg.  I couldn’t leave town.  Dal was the best there was!  And I have no regrets!  At the time, I was upset that I could leave town like many of my friends from high school, but in the end, it worked out just fine.

What advice can you offer high school students who are trying to make the same decision?
Dalhousie has the best of all worlds.  Top notch academics plus “small town” feel and a sense of community that is very real.

What advice can you offer first year students as they begin their time in the Faculty of Science?
Try to join at least one club or society. Don’t be afraid to ask for help (from teachers, senior students, peers, etc). Take advantage of all that you can. Enjoy the campus. Work hard. But enjoy your time in one of the best places in the world. A Dalhousie education can get you wherever you might want to go!