Summer Spotlights: Ashleigh Yanoscsik

Hi everyone! My name is Ashleigh Yanoscsik and I’m a rising junior majoring in meteorology. (possibly doubling in geography, we’ll see!) I’m also the gal discipleship leader for Silver Fam. In this post, I’ll be talking about things I’ve loved about my summer, BCM, and VT. Without further ado, let’s begin!

From left to right: Deepti, Madison, Ashleigh, and Hannah.

What have you been up to this summer?

Well, you know…storm chasing. From June 28-July 8, I took part in the 2021 Hokie Storm Chase! I was originally supposed to go in 2020, but sadly, I had to “storm chase” from the comfort of my living room due to COVID. When I heard that we had the all clear to go in 2021, I was ecstatic. We happened to venture out west during a more quiet pattern, but as Hokies do best, we defied the odds and intercepted some incredible sights/storms. It’d easily take me a day to recount the whole trip, so I’ll share just a couple of my favorite memories.

Favorite Memory #1: Supercell in Boone, CO on July 1st

This was our first big chase day. After waiting for storms to fire, we finally headed west from Lamar, CO in pursuit of a cell that was beginning to strengthen east of Pueblo. I was riding shotgun in our third van, and I remember looking out to my right to see a monster shelf cloud as we got closer to it. Once we were in a good position, all of us got out and were taking pictures when we noticed a wall cloud starting to form. Right after we noticed that, all of our phones went off with a tornado warning. All I could think to myself was, “We did it.” We had intercepted a tornado-warned supercell on a day with no severe risk in Colorado. I still have chills from that moment. Though the storm never produced a tornado from our vantage point, the storm derailed several train cars and produced baseball sized hail.

Favorite Memory #2: 4th of July

After jumping from storm to storm in northern Texas for most of the day, we finally latched onto a supercell just west of Adrian, TX. I remember shooting pictures out of the van window and just being mesmerized by its structure. After stopping to take pictures of the storm, we decided to hunker down at a gas station and let it roll over us. The worst of the storm (baseball sized hail and 70-80 mph winds) fortunately missed us by half a mile. After the storm passed, we came out of the gas station to a full, double rainbow in the field and a gorgeous sunset. To top it all off, thanks to switching time zones, we even made it to our stop in Tucumcari, NM for the night in time for their fireworks display.

I’m incredibly thankful for everyone on the crew this year, and especially our three leaders: my professor, Dave Carroll, and VT met alums, Alex Thornton and Aaron Swiggett. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I’ll never forget it.

Before the storm chase, I had been doing some local storm chasing on my own, and exploring some walking trails near my hometown. Since then, I’ve been cranking out Physics 2, and will be singing on the worship team at Northstar in the coming weeks!

How have you seen God work recently?

I’ll have to use the storm chase as an anecdote for this one. Prior to the trip, I hadn’t made very many friends in my major, especially since COVID began. I made some really good bonds with those on the crew, and I actually have people that I’d feel comfortable talking to in my classes now. Gaining some meteorology friends had been an ongoing prayer of mine, so it was incredible to see the Lord work in those two weeks we all spent together.

What is something you love about BCM?

I just love how everyone is so inclusive and has a heart to love others like Jesus. I noticed that from the moment I stepped into the building for my first 6:33. You can ask the BCM group chat if anyone wants to do things, even simple things like going for a walk on campus, and you’ll almost always get some takers. It’s awesome to see that. Heck, I even had a few folks drive all the way from Blacksburg to go to Busch Gardens back in June.

What are you looking forward to in the fall?

Football, and basketball! I can’t wait to be jumping to Enter Sandman again. Fun fact for those who didn’t know: they aren’t kidding when they say that the earth shakes. One year, the shaking registered on a seismograph all the way in Fredericksburg! I’m also super excited to go back to in-person classes and to make more connections with my classmates/professors.

What advice would you like to share with incoming freshmen?

Don’t be afraid to be yourself. It’s so easy to try to make a good first impression with people you meet and as you’re trying to make new friends. This will probably sound cheesy, but the truth is that those who care about you will love and appreciate you for who you are. I’ve certainly met many of those people at BCM. Also, don’t look both ways when crossing over to the Drillfield; it’s one way. (Pssst, don’t tell anyone…I still accidentally do it sometimes.)

What are your favorite things to do in Blacksburg?

Hiking is definitely one of them! We have lots of amazing hikes near Blacksburg, including but not limited to Bald Knob, McAfee’s Knob, Cascades, and Dragon’s Tooth. It’s a great way to get some exercise or burn off some stress during midterms/finals. I also love to go thrifting at Goodwill and Plato’s Closet with my friends. You can find some really good outfits for a cheap price!

I hope you all have enjoyed getting to know a bit more about me and my summer! Praying that you all have had a blessed summer so far, and I can’t wait to see everyone in the fall!

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