Alexis Esneault ’15: On Internships, Italy, and Integrity
Tenacity and determination best describe Spring Hill College junior Alexis Esneault, a philosophy major from Huntsville, Ala. Esneault, who also studies pre-law and political science, is following her dream of becoming a criminal defense attorney.
To date, Esneault has worked for two circuit judges and served as a runner for a real estate law firm. “Interning at the Madison County courthouse this past summer was invaluable,” says Esneault. “I sat in on several jury trials and accompanied our office to the jail every Wednesday. I filed jail release and sentencing orders. It was an amazing opportunity.”
Esneault, who is grateful for her experiences, says the internship process hasn’t been without a few bumps. After interviewing for her very first summer clerk position with the largest law firm in North Alabama, she was turned down flat. Undeterred, she immediately went to the local courthouse and knocked on every door until she found a judge willing to take on an intern.
“My philosophy is this—don’t let anyone hold you back from achieving your goals. Be persistent, and there are no limits to what you can achieve,” says Esneault. “I’ve worked very hard and made several amazing connections that could lead to future internships and jobs once I graduate from law school. Giving up was not an option.”
Esneault intended to major in international business at Spring Hill College, but was quickly drawn to philosophy and law. “I like the idea of helping people understand their constitutional rights, and making sure that everyone has the opportunity for appropriate legal representation,” says Esneault. “My other courses, particularly Dr. John Switzer’s religion classes, have been incredibly beneficial in teaching me to problem-solve, live with integrity, think critically, and never stop asking questions.”
Dr. Switzer, an associate professor of theology at Spring Hill College, praises Esneault’s drive and motivation. “Nothing bolsters the heart of an educator more than a young person who is engaged, thinking, and responding,” says Dr. Switzer. “Alexis is all of these. She is a joy to have as a student because she clearly participates in the journey of discovery that every classroom community should be.”
Esneault says Spring Hill College’s small class sizes and the one-on-one attention that she receives from professors have made all the difference in having a very rewarding college experience. “I wouldn’t trade Spring Hill for anything. My professors’ office doors are always open, whether it’s for something related to class, or just talking about life in general. You’re never a number. Everyone knows your name. Spring Hill is like one big family.”
In the spring of 2013, Esneault decided to further enrich and expand her education by spending a semester at Spring Hill College’s Italy Center. “I volunteered with Mother Theresa’s Missionaries of Charity, helped cook dinner at their women’s home in Bologna, and served breakfast to the homeless at one of the Catholic churches,” says Esneault. “It was an extremely rewarding and life-changing experience to see people in less fortunate situations.”
While in Bologna, Esneault made it a point to make friends with the locals, get to know the city, and immerse herself in the local culture. “Not only are you living in one of the oldest college towns in the world, you have the opportunity to meet so many Europeans your own age,” says Esneault. “I became best friends with another student from Sicily, and I was able to travel to Florence, as well as visit Venice’s Carnivale. In Bologna, you live and breathe the true Italian experience.”
Dr. Matthew Baugh, assistant professor of political science and law, has served as a mentor and advisor for Esneault. “Alexis is both engaged and engaging. She has a passionate desire to grow in her understanding. Alexis shares something in common with all great students: she lets herself be changed by her education,” says Dr. Baugh. “She came back from Italy with a whole new set of questions. The deepest questions of human life had become her own.”
When she isn’t busy studying and interning, Esneault is involved in the Spring Hill College Philosophy Club, the campus Political Science and International Studies Club, and is President of Young Americans for Liberty.
Alexis Esneault’s Advice for Spring Hill College Freshman
- Go to Italy! Don’t ask questions; just go! I promise you won’t regret it.
- Don’t be afraid to talk to your professors. They are there to help!
- Try your hardest to set a good GPA as a freshman, because once you mess it up, it is extremely hard to bring back up. Many of my friends say that if they had freshman year to do over, they would have concentrated more on school and less on their social life!
- Love your time in Walsh. I promise you will miss it when it is gone.
- Don’t wait for internships to find you; actively seek them out. They really will make a difference in the long run. Especially if you are not sure if you really want to be a doctor or a lawyer, the best way to figure that out is to follow one around for a summer.
- Go on beach trips with your friends. Living near the Gulf Coast is one of the things that makes Spring Hill College so awesome.