Growing up with a tight-knit family in Bristol, Connecticut, it was always important to Stephanie Saucier to stay close to home while pursuing her dream career. Thanks to her own hard work and determination, this Class of 2014 Ross graduate is doing just that.
Not only did Dr. Saucier match into a residency program at the University of Connecticut, but in July she’ll start a prestigious cardiology fellowship at Hartford Hospital—just shy of 45 minutes from home.
We caught up with Dr. Saucier to learn more about life after graduation, her time at Ross and her path to a career in cardiology.
What was the initial MATCH™ like for you?
The MATCH™ was a little nerve-wracking because being an international medical grad, you hear all these rumors and you don’t know what it’s going to be like. But once you start getting interviews, a lot of those fears just go away. Ross has made such a great name within residencies at university programs; there are Ross students everywhere. In fact, one of my mentors, the director of cardiology at my hospital, is a Ross grad. There are so many people who’ve come before me who have done such amazing things.
Tell us about your residency. What made the program seem like a great fit for you, and how has your experience been?
I’m a third-year resident in primary care internal medicine at the University of Connecticut. First, I definitely wanted to be in Connecticut. I was born and raised in Bristol, Connecticut and I’m very close with my family and friends. So geography was huge for me. And then UConn has everything you could ever imagine. We rotate through four of the biggest hospitals in the state, and there’s a lot of research opportunities.
In addition to primary care, my program offers fellowship opportunities for those who are interested; about 50 percent of residents in this program go onto fellowships. Also, it’s a smaller program, which was a draw for me, too. I know all of the attending physicians very well, and we have great working relationships. They know who you are from intern year on, and they’re very friendly and open. Everyone’s willing to help each other out, pick up extra shifts, etc. And the program director [Dr. Thomas Lane] is incredible.
What kinds of opportunities have you been involved in?
I’ve been able to present at two national conferences. I did some research on nuclear imaging (cardiac) PET and SPECT and I presented that at American Society of Nuclear Cardiology Conference in Boca Raton, Florida. My original research was on chest pain observation admissions, ultimately observed and ruled out for a few coronary symptoms—that one I presented at Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care in Miami.
What’s one of your most memorable experiences at Ross?
Discovering cardiology. When we did our cardiology unit, I was just fascinated. It’s such a humbling field—it affects everyone from birth to death, all walks of life. Your heart is so vital to everything you are. You really need to look at the whole person in order to understand cardiology. Plus, research and development in cardiology is always growing.
Why did you choose Ross?
First, I admittedly did not do as well as I would’ve liked on my MCAT, so that hurt my chances for U.S. medical schools. I got lots of advice from people who said, “Do a post-bac year, get a master’s in public health,” etc. to boost my resume before reapplying to a U.S. medical school. But my best friend’s brother had just completed the Foundations of Medicine curriculum at Ross. He said, “You know Steph, you should really look into Ross.” I loved what I saw when I researched it more and when I interviewed. And now, years later, he has done incredibly well. He’s a chief cardiology fellow now and is going into electrophysiology.
What was your campus experience like?
Dominica is an incredibly special place. Your friends and the people you meet at Ross become your lifelong family and confidantes. I actually went back recently to visit a friend who lives in the same apartment complex I lived in. It was amazing because the landlords knew I was coming and they remembered that my favorite island fruit was guava, so they picked some fresh guava and brought it to my friend’s house. It was so touching and really shows how you’re part of a lifelong community as a Ross graduate.
Any advice for current Ross students?
If you’re self-motivated and you have that drive, you’ll do well. Don’t stop working hard. Keep at it, no matter how the road twists and turns. But don’t forget to take a step back every once and awhile, take a day off, enjoy Dominica and the people you’re living with. You’re part of the Ross family. Reach out to your peers and alumni, because we are all willing to help.