Mason Roberson grew up playing sports in his hometown of Chattanooga, including basketball, football, soccer, and his favorite, baseball. “I did anything I could do to stay active,” he recalled. “I was always jumping up and down, running around and stuff. My mom used to say, ‘This kid’s going to drive me insane! But it’s going to be okay.’”
And it is. Roberson has taken that active spirit and combined it with his love of being with people to choose his path in life.
When a baseball-related knee injury landed him in the training room at Chattanooga Christian School, his athletic trainer had a strong impact on him. “She helped me overcome the injury, not only physically but mentally,” he said. “Some athletes have a lot of stress when they’re dealing with injury, thinking they can’t play the way they’ve been used to playing their whole lives. That was me, but she was there for me – to comfort me, to say, ‘I see you’re strong-willed, and if you work hard, you’re going to be right back out there.’ I took that feeling, and I said, ‘I want to be that for somebody else.’ That drove me to the field of exercise science. That relatability was the biggest thing. I wanted to show people that I’ve been through it, too.”
Roberson will gain valuable experience toward that goal during the coming academic year through an internship at BucSports, ETSU’s Jerry Robertson Athletic Medicine Center. He will work with the Buccaneer football team in the fall, and hopes to help with the baseball team in the spring. After graduating in 2018 with a degree in physical education with a concentration in exercise science, he plans to attend graduate school and pursue a position as a trainer with a minor league baseball team before working his way up to the major leagues.
Because of his active lifestyle, Roberson found East Tennessee State University attractive not only for its exercise science program but also for its extracurricular offerings and proximity to ample outdoor sporting opportunities. “My mom went here for two years, and when I first set foot on the campus, I said, ‘This is beautiful!’ Hiking is one of my hobbies, and I like to go fishing. I like to be outside all the time – when I can, where I can – and it just helps me calm myself and deal with stress. So when I saw this campus, I knew this could be my ‘home away from home.’ I fell in love with the scenery, and then I got to meet the people – the people were great, as well.”
At the encouragement of his orientation leader, Roberson signed up for Preview. “I didn’t know a lot of people, coming here from Chattanooga, so it was a way for me to get acclimated to the campus, better myself, and overall make some new friends,” he said. “I had the best experience of my life. I met some of my best friends to this day in my Preview group and had the first-time freshman fears go away. That Preview transition just made it so much easier to feel welcome and at home with the campus, and I thought, ‘Now that I’ve felt this, I want somebody else to experience this.’”
Roberson soon took an active role in making that happen by becoming a member of POLO, the Preview and Orientation Leaders Association, and today serves as a program assistant in New Student and Family Programs. Among his numerous duties is coordinating the orientation day receptions during which incoming students meet representatives of ETSU’s many student organizations and learn about their activities and benefits of membership.
“It can be so much fun,” he said. “I was really grateful that my boss presented me with the opportunity. It gives me a chance to meet some of the leaders of different organizations. We’re all there for the same reason – we’re trying to bring the students together as a whole, and show how diverse we are, as well. It’s a full day of work, but I love every second of it.”
Roberson, who has earned two Leader of the Year awards for his work in POLO, was proud to be elected Homecoming King in 2016 as a representative of the organization.
In addition, Roberson participates in intramural sports and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and assists with the major concerts sponsored each semester by the Student Government Association. Off campus, he enjoys bowling and often volunteers at NASCAR races at Bristol Motor Speedway. He has also worked as a junior counselor and counselor at Kandy Kastle, a child development program in Chattanooga that has been in his family since its founding by his great-great-grandmother.
“That’s one thing I can say I enjoy doing – working with kids,” Roberson said. “They
are hilarious. They have so much energy and are full of personality, and it’s something
that feels really good, because it goes back to giving somebody the experience that
you might not have had, or that you want someone to experience. It takes a lot of
patience, and you’ve gotta love it, and I do. Whatever I do in life, if I can’t be
around baseball, I’d like to work in a high school or a middle school, and just give
back to the youth, which is something my grandfather taught me. He’s my role model.
He’s who I do it for, and he’s a great man. I try to incorporate his values and his
morals into my own.”