Kharoll-Ann Souffrant: a quiet force

Kharoll-Ann Souffrant’s journey at McGill began in 2014, when she enrolled in the School of Social Work. Over the course of her undergraduate studies, the inspiration she found from her courses revealed her interest in teaching. She greatly admired the different teaching approaches utilized by her professors and aspired to mentor and teach future generations. She realized that pursuing Graduate studies in her preferred domain of Social Work would be the most logical path to follow. Five years later, she still works tirelessly to fulfill her academic endeavors; completing her Graduate studies in Social Work and enhancing the well-being of the people around her. She recently submitted her thesis on sexual violence against women. If approved, she will be undertaking a PhD in Social Work at the University of Ottawa in fall 2019.

“Life is a beautiful journey”, Kharoll-Ann explains. “I am determined to complete my PhD and I can’t wait to become a social worker and teacher."

Tell me about yourself – what is your background? What are your interests?

I was born and raised in Montreal, in a Haitian household. I first became interested in Social Work through volunteer work with my high school (L’école secondaire Dorval-Jean-XXIII). As part of our International Baccalaureate program, we had to complete over 200 hours of community service. That experience made me realize that I enjoy working with people coming from different backgrounds. I then majored in a technical program at CEGEP Ahuntsic in Social Intervention. I chose this program because I was curious to see what it entailed, and I thought it would be a good fit for my career since it provided multidisciplinary training in the areas of criminology, law, psychology and sociology. Looking back, I think I made the right decision!

Why did you choose to major in Social Work at McGill specifically?

I knew McGill had a smaller program and I really wanted to work on my English. The smaller classrooms meant building real relationships with my professors. I believe social work is an important discipline and we should pay more attention to it. I believed it would allow me to have an important impact on people.

What are some of your biggest aspirations? Inspirations?

I would like to keep giving talks and educate people on mental health issues. I am seeing many great initiatives on mental health and I strive to contribute to erasing the stigma around this important subject.

One of my favourite books is Stolen Sisters; it’s a powerful book that advocates for missing Indigenous women in Canada. We need to be more aware of what had happened to them and make sure history does not repeat itself. I admire the author Emmanuelle Walter, who has not only won several prizes but most importantly, the legal battle. Justice was given to their families thanks to her efforts.

What has been your proudest moment both as a student and as a person?

Graduating! I still look back on my early days as a student and I cannot believe my adventure at McGill is coming to an end. I am very proud to be part of the McGill community and I feel honored to have received two degrees here. It has not always been easy but I have continuously pushed myself and am grateful for the experiences over the past five years. McGill will always have a special place in my heart.

What is the best advice you have received? Best course?

Whatever you do or think of doing in life, just go for it! If it works out, great! If it doesn’t, who cares? Learn from your mistakes and grow. As Michael Jordan puts it best, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.

I took a course in Kahnawake during my undergrad and it gave me a new perspective on things. I appreciated the way Indigenous people live and learned so much about their culture, customs and views

What is your biggest takeaway from being an Arts ambassador?

I had the privilege to interview Cindy Blackstock. She is an incredible advocate and won several awards for her work with Aboriginal communities. I would also say that I improved my writing in English. I am more confident at writing concisely thanks to the guidance and training I have received as an ambassador.

If you could go back in time, would you make any changes to your time spent at McGill? If so, how and why?

Nothing! I do not have any regrets; I go with the flow and trust life. All I need to know is that I am creating a lasting impact on my community, and always remember to smile!

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Fun fact! Kharoll Ann has her own Ted Talk – Le rétablissement en santé mentale, c’est possible!

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