Meet the Class of 2021: Jessica Yanoschak
College of Engineering, Industrial and Systems Engineering
"Don't give up. Don't ever give up." - Jim Valvano
Hometown: Midlothian, Virginia
Fun fact about yourself: I've been dog sledding in Alaska.
If you participated in an internship, what company was it for and what were your job responsibilities?
After my freshman year, I interned at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg where I was the lead supervisor for ride operations in the Scotland area of the park. In my role, I oversaw the daily operations of the Loch Ness Monster roller coaster and managed a team of about fifteen ride operators. In the summer of 2019, I interned at Lowe's as an Industrial Engineer intern. I led a project to improve the efficiency of the receiving process in Lowe's network of distribution centers. I accepted an offer to return to Lowe's for another internship in the summer of 2020, but the internship was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Which faculty member has made the biggest impact in your undergraduate education and how?
Dr. Kimberly Ellis has made the biggest impact on my undergraduate education. Although, I haven't had the privilege of taking one of her classes, she advised my senior design project and provided us with such valuable insight and advice for tackling our project. She also encouraged me to run for an officer position in Alpha Pi Mu which I've really enjoyed being a part of. Her positive energy and enthusiasm for industrial engineering is very motivating.
Aside from your classmates, what has been the best part of being an industrial and systems engineering major at Virginia Tech?
The best parts about being an ISE major are the classes and the opportunities to get involved with the department. I have truly enjoyed taking a lot of the classes in the ISE curriculum. Classes like facilities planning, supply chain engineering, and lean manufacturing really solidified my interest in industrial engineering and have confirmed that this was the right path for me. It's clear that many of the professors are passionate about what they teach. There's also so many opportunities to get involved with the department through various ISE organizations. I enjoy being a part of IISE and APM. It's been a great opportunity for me to meet other students in my major and grow professionally.
What club or activity excites you most at Virginia Tech and why?
I've loved being part of my sorority, Alpha Omega Epsilon. A.O.E. has provided me with the wonderful opportunity to meet so many women who are passionate about STEM. Through my sorority, I've been able to participate in a wide variety of service and professional development events while making lifelong friends. I've even gained some valuable leadership experience by serving on our chapter's executive board.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your student career so far?
My biggest accomplishment in my student career was being inducted into Alpha Pi Mu as a sophomore. It was an honor to be recognized for all of the hard work that I've put into my college education. I have enjoyed giving back to the department through my involvement with APM.
What was your defining moment at Virginia Tech and how has it prepared you for your future career?
During my sophomore year, I struggled to figure out what I wanted to do with my future career. I enjoyed taking ISE classes, but I hadn't found my passion for industrial engineering yet. After sophomore year I completed my first industrial engineering internship and returned to school to start junior year. That fall semester of my junior year was when things really started to click for me. I began to see applications between the topics I was learning in class and the real-world project experience that I gained from my internship. I realized that I was very interested in the areas of manufacturing and distribution. It felt like I had finally found my place in ISE. The experience inspired me to go out into industry after graduation and work in distribution.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation I will be working full time at Target as an Operations Manager in their Suffolk, Virginia distribution center.