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Alumni Success

Howling Success: Zack Jenio

Zack Jenio in his graduation robes, making a wolfie sign in front of the Memorial Belltower

Supporter. Listener. Inspirer. Leader. These are just a few words used to describe Zack Jenio in his nomination for the NC State Division of Academic and Student Affairs’ Howling Success award.

Jenio has worked as an instructor and wellness coach for Wellness and Recreation (WellRec) since fall 2018. In the last four years, he has provided individual wellness coaching for more than 100 of his student peers and spent hundreds of hours leading courses in time management, stress management, nutrition and overall personal growth. He also earned certifications in group fitness and personal training and helped develop WellRec’s employee wellness toolkit and Healthy Living Series. 

“Because of the community here, the leadership and the opportunities I’ve had, it’s kept me here, and I have just grown and had so many different opportunities to lead both within Wellness and Recreation and also outside in the greater NC State community.”

Zack and his colleagues dance to the Cupid Shuffle during WellRec's Howl and Chill event in April
Zack and his colleagues dance to the Cupid Shuffle during WellRec’s Howl and Chill event in April

In addition to his work with Wellness and Recreation, Jenio’s name has often appeared in the bylines for the Technician as an opinion columnist. He has also contributed his writing skills to WellRec, penning articles for its Wellness Wednesdays Series about sleep hygiene, movement and healthy relationships. 

“I joined the Technician as an opinion columnist because I wanted an excuse to kind of have a soap box and rant about different things,” he grinned. “I really fell in love with that and grew as a writer and as somebody being able to communicate ideas proficiently to wide audiences, which has become a real skill.”

Jenio has also been able to make a difference in his community, be a leader and build relationships with his classmates as a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity throughout his time as an undergraduate. 

Zack wearing a "Go Greek" T-shirt while studying abroad in Wadi Rum in 2019
Zack wearing a “Go Greek” T-shirt while studying abroad in Wadi Rum in 2019

“That was really an amazing experience to introduce me to so many amazing different guys as well as be able to participate in philanthropy and service and really learn how to grow as somebody wanting to interact with lots of diverse people in NC State’s community,” Jenio said. “It helped make NC State — this huge, amazing, beautiful school — just a little bit smaller by knowing people and being able to say hi in between classes and have that social community be built in.”

On top of his other achievements and contributions to NC State over the last four years, Jenio just completed the accelerated master’s program and earned his degree in comparative biomedical sciences through the College of Veterinary Medicine. Over the long term, he plans to continue his education and pursue a career in the public health sector. For the time being, though, he’s taking a break from school and launching his own business, FZJ Wellness, which will allow him to continue using his certifications from WellRec to offer wellness coaching, personal training and courses on mental health first aid in his community. 

Jenio was nominated as a Howling Success by Shannon DuPree, director of Wellness and one of Jenio’s supervisors. In her nomination letter, she noted that Jenio’s “positive attitude and overall commitment to the development of his peers is something to be celebrated.”

Zack leading a wellness coaching session
Zack leading a wellness coaching session

“To be recognized as a Howling Success means a lot because I was recognized by leaders, supervisors, coordinators and directors that I look up to so much and I think are ‘Howling Successes’ and have really shaped the way that I want to be a leader,” Jenio said. “To see and hear that these people I really look up to see that in me is validating with my experiences, but at its core just makes me feel really good and let’s me know that I’m doing things right-ish and that it’s going to translate into hopefully successes outside of NC State in terms of being able to fulfill my personal purpose and my mission, wherever that takes me.”

The Division of Academic and Student Affairs’ Howling Success initiative aims to recognize our truly exceptional and well-rounded undergraduate students who are showing how they Think and Do. Faculty and staff are encouraged to nominate students who have made their mark on NC State, particularly in programs within the division. Learn more about the criteria and submit your nomination(s) here, and view previous Howling Success stories here.

This post was originally published in DASA.

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