Featuring: Elizabeth Strasko ’21 (Department of Science & Health)
Elizabeth Strasko ’21 is only in her sophomore year, but thanks to Asbury’s hands-on education programs, has already gotten real world experience in both her Biology major and Equine minor.
Strasko has taken part in ecology field trips to the University’s 340-acre farm property along the Kentucky Palisades River where students learn about the ecosystem, fish and aquatic invertebrates.
“That’s a really good way to keep in your brain all the things you’ve been learning because, obviously, in the lab, we’re looking at pictures or dead fish that have been preserved,” Strasko said. “So, actually getting out and seeing the live ones and where they live and what they look like is really helpful.”
The combination of academic excellence and spiritual vitality unique to an Asbury education is preparing Strasko to make an impact for Christ.
“Getting to have the Christian side of it in addition to the educational side of it and having it all combined really well is a good asset to your learning experiences and to what you bring to the world,” Strasko said. “The professors care a lot and invest in you. I can stay in the lab until 11 at night and have random professors that are there at like six o’clock helping me out. It’s really made a difference having them there. It really helps you learn more when you can learn outside of the classroom as well.”
As an Equine minor, Strasko boards her horse at the barn during the academic year and has been on the drill team. She also got hands-on experience by traveling to the Equine Fair with Asbury staff and students this past April in Ohio.
“Being out at the barn every day is super fun, riding with friends and what not,” Strasko said. “Equine Fair was probably the highlight of my year. I wouldn’t have gone if it wasn’t for Asbury and through Jesse Westfall, who teaches in the Equine Program. He’s a really big asset to that and a really big help to the students.”
It’s this experiential learning environment that has also given Strasko the space to grow as a learner and know that she has a support system in her classes.
“If you’re struggling in a subject or just worn out, it’s okay to ask your friends or ask your professors to help you out with different subjects,” Strasko said. “I think other people are always willing, most of the time, to be there for you as long as you just ask someone and that’s been a real help at Asbury, having people that care.”
Aside from getting amazing hands-on learning experiences, Strasko continues to build lifelong friendships through residence life on campus.
“It’s really neat to be able to hang out in the dorm until midnight studying with your friends,” Strasko said. “Being able to uplift each other when times are low and just building relationships with each other that you’re going to be able to keep forever and go out into the world and remember those times when they were there for you. You’ll be able to be there for others too and build that community wherever you go.”
Featuring: Louise Spencer (Asbury’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies)
The interlude between Louise Spencer’s calling and her entrance into ministry spans continents, occupations and years. God called Spencer into ministry at a revival in the Republic of Panama, where she was stationed in the Army. It wasn’t until five years later, at the podium of a small church in Kentucky, that she answered her call and formally entered into a life of ministry.
Spencer has gone from a global mechanical career in the Army, to a little church in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains — a congregation she drives 90 miles (each way) to serve each week.
Asbury teaches you how to develop your life around what you believe. You need to have fundamental truths — what you believe in and what you’re going to hold on to — and those are the things in life that, no matter what happens, will stay intact.
Student, School of Graduate and Professional Studies
As a Leadership and Ministry major in Asbury’s Adult Professional Studies (degree-completion) program, Spencer garnered the knowledge needed to serve parishioners on the ever-changing topography of modern ministry.
“Congregations are more educated, so that means their leader needs to have more education,” Spencer said. “People want to know the ‘whys,’ the ‘hows’ and the ‘whens.’ A good education allows me to answer those questions.”
Asbury’s specialized combination of spiritual formation and leadership expertise has affirmed truths Spencer has leaned on throughout her walk with Christ, but it has also added new experiences and perspectives. These are the makings of a firm foundation she will build upon for a lifetime.
“Asbury teaches you how to develop your life around what you believe,” Spencer said. “You need to have fundamental truths — what you believe in and what you’re going to hold on to — and those are the things in life that, no matter what happens, will stay intact.”
With undergraduate studies are coming to an end, Spencer chose to continue her quest as she pursues a Master of Divinity at Asbury Theological Seminary. Spencer says everyone at Asbury, from admissions to professors, has had a hand in this journey from calling to career.
“Everyone has made an impact,” she said. “They all played a role in who I am today.”