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Intern Intro: Zack

Name: Zack Dion

Hometown: Neenah

School attending: UW-Oshkosh, June 2019

Age: 23

Tell us about your background:

I grew up on the Neenah side of Doty Island where I lived on 11th street until I was about 17. As a child, I loved the close bonds of the Doty Island community. Most of my younger years were spent outside roughhousing with other kids in the neighborhood. We’d play every sport imaginable and eventually grew into airsoft wars that would undoubtedly leave someone bruised or bloody. No days were spent alone.

In high school, I was a quiet, angsty teenager who kept to myself. I wasn’t aware of my own personality and let others take advantage of me. Despite these flaws, I still had a lot of good times. I had trouble finding the right social group in school but I made friends along the way. I spent most of my freetime playing video games. My favorite games were Gears of War and Rock Band which I’d play online with friends from school.

I struggled with depression throughout high school and eventually switched from Neenah High to Wisconsin Connections Academy, an online school based out of Appleton Central. This was a much better fit for me because I could work at my own rate and not have to deal with my judgmental peers. I graduated from Wisconsin Connections Academy in 2014.

After high school, it took some time for me to figure out what I wanted to do with my life… shocker. With my depression worsening, I needed to find healthy ways to cope. I forced myself to break away from my friends because I learned that they never fully accepted me for who I was. During this period I found writing to be the most helpful activity in my life. Within a month I had filled out 200 pages of a journal. I decided I wanted to go to school for either psychology or journalism. After lots of thinking I settled on journalism because that’s what I could see myself doing at the end of the day.

I started my college schooling at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley. Here, I found my way into some of the most interesting classes of my collegiate career, including a history of rock and roll class and a summer class about the Harry Potter movies. I earned my Associates at UW-Fox Valley in the summer of 2016 and transferred to UW-Oshkosh in the fall of the same year. At UWO, my classes mostly have focused on journalism and their program exceeded my expectations in preparing me for my career. I’m scheduled to graduate in June 2019 and hope to find a job at a magazine somewhere on this planet.

Why did you want to be an intern at FCM?

One of the classes I took at UWO was a feature and magazine writing class. I really enjoyed this style of writing as opposed to hard-news writing because it gives me more freedom to use my voice and challenge the way I write. I’m from the Fox Cities, so writing stories about the cities in the style I’ve learned to enjoy the most sounded like a dream come true.

What’s your favorite thing about the Fox Cities?

My favorite thing about the Fox Cities is the local music scene. It seems that the genres and quantity of musical artists hailing from the Fox Cities has grown exponentially in the last few years. Just in downtown Appleton, the music on any given weekend could range from bluegrass to EDM, with the artists being local to the area.

The last book you read:

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

Last movie you watched:

Captain Marvel

Any hidden talents?

I wouldn’t say I have superb talent in it, but I enjoy biking — both mountain and road biking — and I’d like to say I’m getting better at each of them with time.

What can’t you live without?

My breath. I mean, obviously you can’t live without breathing but over the past several years I’ve delved into meditation and found it to be the best way for me to get past anxieties.

What’s the biggest risk you ever took?

I took a trip out to New York City in 2017 with my girlfriend at the time and not as much money as I should of had. It was an amazing trip which included a boat tour of the five boroughs, some excellent meals around the city with the best wings I’ve ever had, and, the main reason for the trip, Afropunk music festival which was one of the most welcoming environments I’ve ever been in.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

My mom once said to me to never be afraid to ask for help because it is a sign of strength.

Describe your perfect Saturday:

First of all, I wouldn’t have to work. I’d spend the day with friends, socializing outdoors on a nice day, probably playing disc golf. At night we’d go to a concert or comedy show and really let loose.

Check back in to read Zack’s blog series this summer!

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