Working for the federal government has long been the dream of recent college graduate Mason Chronister. Thanks to DLA’s participation in the Department of Labor’s Workforce Recruitment Program, or WRP, he has been able to reach that goal.
Seemingly like any other recent college graduate, Chronister, who recently earned his Associate in Applied Science in administrative support technology from Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, has Usher Syndrome. A relatively rare genetic disorder, Usher Syndrome results in a combination of hearing loss and visual impairment. About four people in every 100,000 are diagnosed with the incurable condition.
“I was born deaf to hearing parents,” said Chronister. “I didn’t start noticing the effects of Usher Syndrome until I was about 14. As time goes on, it has gotten worse. But despite all my challenges, I’ve always known I can accomplish anything.”
The WRP is a recruitment and referral program that connects federal and private sector employers nationwide with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to prove their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs. This is the second summer internship Chronister has worked with DLA.
As an administrative assistant in DLA Distribution’s Organization Management/J9 directorate, Chronister completes a multitude of tasks on a daily basis. Some of these tasks include packing and securing awards before they are sent out to the sites, collecting feedback in customer support and verifying students in the Mobilization Training Team have completed the assigned training.
“I really enjoy learning new things every day at DLA,” said Chronister. “I am fascinated by the workforce’s determination to assist all civilians and Warfighters here and overseas.”
Despite his condition, Chronister has been able to work with his supervisor and coworkers to expertly execute his job. “I appreciate that the supervisor and DLA are willing to meet our special needs individually.”
“Mason has exceptional communication skills and is an amazing public speaker,” said his supervisor Polly Charbonneau, deputy director of OM/J9. “He is very detail oriented and has helped us immensely! We are so fortunate to have him as part of our team.”
Chronister’s current internship will be complete around the end of September. His future plans are not known as of yet, but his goal is to find a permanent position with the federal government after the summer.
One thing is for sure, however: the men and women of DLA Distribution have left a lasting impression on Chronister. “They are caring and accommodating, very determined to support and assist people,” said Chronister. “They have the most important quality for our country- loyalty.”
When Chronister is not working he enjoys traveling across the U.S. and abroad. He recently visited Texas and Louisiana. When visiting one of his favorite spots, San Francisco, he actually hugged a part of the Golden Gate Bridge.
“Yes, I hugged it,” he chuckled. “When I see something famous, it’s what I do. It helps me commit it to my memory.”
Additionally, Chronister enjoys reading. Fantasy books and non-fiction are his favorite genres. He also enjoys spending time with his family and three dogs.