NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. –
Students from Pennsylvania’s Central York high school visited Defense Logistics Agency Distribution to gain an understanding of how the government organization operates, and to tour the Eastern Distribution Center Dec. 11.
Karen Hudson teaches advanced placement U.S. Government and Politics. No stranger to DLA Distribution, Hudson, a retired Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, was assigned to DLA Distribution during her military career in the Expeditionary Logistics directorate, where she deployed to Djibouti, Africa.
She knows firsthand how the organization operates, and as her students have been studying about branches of government – and most recently bureaucracy and restructuring – Hudson believes visiting a government facility will help her students better understand what they’ve been learning in the classroom.
“I’ve been bringing students here since the fall of 2012, and the expectation is to give them a view of how government works. A project we’ve been studying is reforming federal government, looking at budget cuts … by doing that, it puts a face to it because when you make cuts, sometimes it’s people’s jobs and not just programs or things that you think are unnecessary,” said Hudson.
Polly Charbonneau, deputy director, DLA Distribution Joint Force Development J9, gave the group an overview of the organization, actively engaging the students in dialogue by asking questions and providing information.
“Getting the students engaged and involved in the conversation allows the information to stay with them. They were great, really impressive,” said Charbonneau.
Students participating in the dialogue were rewarded with their choice of candy that Charbonneau provided, and by the end of her presentation, nearly all students were rewarded.
Sophomore Mariam Fahmy was surprised to learn of the job opportunities available in the government. “I learned that even having a small job here could play such a pivotal role in advancing a career in the federal government, and I really want to try that now, its sounds very beneficial.”
The students also learned of the different types of employment with DLA Distribution and its benefits. Mason Chronister, management assistant, Distribution J9, along with his guide dog Xavier, gave the group a presentation on disabled employees. Chronister, who is hard of hearing and vision impaired, actively engaged the group by teaching them some common signs in the American Sign Language. He also introduced them to his guide dog, Xavier.
Junior Tysha Burrell really enjoyed learning from Chronister and seeing Xavier was a plus. “It was really interesting, my sister is deaf, and it was good to learn some of the signs as I’m not really fluent in sign language. I also like how open everyone was to learning, and the dog was so cute.”
“It’s a great experience coming here, and every time the J9 does a better job at tailoring it for our high school students. I’ve seen improvements every time I visit,” said Hudson.
The group then toured the Eastern Distribution Center, the largest warehouse facility in the Defense Department, where they learned warehouse management, operations and processes and visited various sections where items are stored, processed and shipped.