May 5, 2015

Jeannot '17 Pursues Passion for Politics and Helping People

Ashley Jeannot '17

Last year, political science major Ashley Jeannot '17 kicked off her career at Emmanuel in high gear, and she shows no signs of slowing down.

"I knew coming into college that I needed to build up experience. I think in order to gain the experience that you need for the future, you need to hit the ground running," Jeannot said. "I always tell my friends, 'If you have the opportunity to do something now, do it. Who's to say come senior year the same opportunity will be available to you?'"

In less than two years, Jeannot has made a name for herself at Emmanuel. She is an Admissions Ambassador, a Student Advisor of Multicultural Programs and the Executive Commuter Representative for the Student Government Association.

On being a political science major, Jeannot added, "the news is kind of my life. I'm always checking it."

Outside of Emmanuel, Jeannot partakes in service work with her church back home in Norwood, Massachusetts. She went to an orphanage in the Philippines for two weeks last summer, traveled to another orphanage in Haiti for this year's Spring Break and will be headed to a shelter for displaced families in Burma for a month this summer.

"One of the reasons I chose Emmanuel is because of the service work," she said. "It's what I love to do, just helping people and giving back."

Being able to implement change and policies is definitely something that Jeannot says she is drawn to. One day, she hopes she can help people on a larger scale by working with laws and Congress.

For her junior year, Jeannot is planning to study abroad in Morocco her spring semester. With her family's roots in Haiti, Jeannot can speak French, which is widely spoken in Morocco; and currently at Emmanuel, she is pursuing a certificate in Arabic, which is one of the country's official languages.

Along with traveling to different countries, as she takes more political science classes, Jeannot is learning about the strategies of war and peace with a focus on the Middle East. She's interested in negotiations and how policies have changed things, particularly in that region. Jeannot can see herself one day being a negotiator/mediator or as a United Nations Ambassador during conflicts.

However, her internship at the Women's Bar Association (WBA) in Boston has opened the door for another possible career path: a lawyer.

"One minute I want to be a politician and the next I want to be a lawyer. I just know that I want to do something with the law and helping people," she said.

Jeannot was drawn to interning at the WBA because it's an organization that is committed to achieving equal participation of women in the legal profession while building a strong community of women lawyers who make a difference in the profession and society.

"I gravitated toward the unity in that," Jeannot said. "When my supervisor was sharing the history of the association, I fell in love with it because I like the idea of service work and helping people, but also looking out for your own and having each other's back in a male-dominated field."

At WBA, Jeannot works with a team to find ways to increase membership so that future lawyers can network with other lawyers; she also helps plan for events and completes other administration-based work. She said the internship has opened her eyes to how the legal process truly works and as to how much time would be needed of her if she decided to become a lawyer.

Relating back to her career goal as a politican, Jeannot says her internship also involves negotiations because lawyers work out case issues with each other.

"You have to understand not only what you want, but what the party wants as well, which is interesting to me. I think people often focus on their goal and don't really care what the other person thinks, but negotiating gives you the opportunity to hear both sides so you can finally come to a middle ground on something," she said.

The Emmanuel sophomore says the courses in her major have helped her with her internship and interests in politics, along with many of general requirement classes, including a psychology class where she learned about the dynamics of people.

"The class helped me in understanding why people think and act a certain way. Between looking at cases with my supervisor and being in my Arabic class, I've learned that something I might find normal and non-offensive might be offensive to someone else. It all has broadened my eyes to understanding cultures," she said.

In only her second year at Emmanuel, Jeannot believes all her experiences have already helped change her for the better. She feels a lot more comfortable in her studies and in social settings. She's proud of her courage to take on leadership positions and new interests.

"I definitely love being involved and doing things I love. I think it's quality over quantity. As long as I'm doing things that I'm passionate about and continue to enjoy every day, then, why not?" Jeannot said.