Dion Nickelson

Music Education Major
Class of 2022
Pacific Singers: President
Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society: Student VP
Pacific Stocktones: Music Director 

 “It’s gonna feel different not being around people like you, but honestly really appreciate the difference, use this as an opportunity to diversify yourself and it will make you a better person, and there’s nothing that’s gonna stop you but you”
-Dion Nickelson

thank you so much for joining our
project for being part of it can you
start by introducing yourself a little
bit about your major
you know um
when you’re going to graduate what you
hope to do
yeah yeah
my name is dionne nicholson i am class
of 22 so i’m going to graduate this
coming may
my major is music education
the primary in voice
and yeah when i
graduate i’m hoping to
continue my education go to grad school
choral conducting
that’s what i’m hoping to do in the next
coming coming years and then eventually
i want to
you know go and teach college just like
like our professors here
that’s excellent so what do you think
about teaching at you know as a you know
local school
yeah um
i’ve been teaching
at local schools uh you know as part of
my training in music education it’s been
it’s been
a really great time
and i definitely know that teaching will
always be part of my life and i’ll be
doing it
probably the rest of my life
let me ask you do
did you how did you hear about ulp
yeah i heard about it i was at boys
state if you don’t know what that is
it’s like a
uh a summer camp kind of deal where
you’re in like your junior year a high
history teacher might recommend like
boys from your school and you can go you
go to sac state
and there’s like a bunch of other just
like guys
uh there and it’s like a simulated
government kind of thing so like you
kind of build up your own
system of government and stuff and it’s
like it’s like a fun thing and like you
you learn a lot about you know how
politics and stuff work and uop
was there on like their college
like fair kind of thing and that was the
first time i ever heard of it if you
were university pacific and uh
i like was
instantly like like oh wow this is super
cool like i i went and talked to him
after i got onto like the emailing list
and then they sent me like the tiger
was it the tiger
thing whatever the link that you can
like just use to
apply and i was i was just
hooked since day one yeah
you know many african-americans or maybe
i shouldn’t say many there are some
african-americans who have never had the
opportunity in their family to go to
university college and is your family
are you the first generation or
wow yes
yeah how does that make your family feel
um my family has always been super proud
of me um
they’ve shown it a lot they’ve shown
you know they’re very very protective of
you know um
but yeah my
you know they
went through schools uh one of them went
to like a trade school
but and the first one has been like you
know keep
continuing and continuing the education
it’s a lot um
there’s like a lot of aspects to like
being a first generation other than just
like academically that like i
don’t really realize like financially
uh it’s like the first time they’ve had
to like you know save the money and do
all this stuff to get me through school
and it’s been
it’s been all right but yeah
did you feel pressure
or do you feel pressure you know and as
a you know the person in the family
you know that to succeed to make sure
that money’s been well worth being spent
that kind of classroom yeah
i think i always feel pressure
but not not necessarily a bad way you
know uh just as a black male i feel
pressure pressure to
be successful and to be
be always on it but that’s kind of just
like my
that like drives me you know my pressure
it’s like knowing that
i have people who are expecting me to
that’s so cool you know i know that part
of being on campus um is
not only just focusing on your academics
but it’s about building community and
relationships are you involved in any
aspects of campus life apart from your
classes that you attend yeah um i’ve
been a member
of pacific stop tone she’s like our
collegiate acapella group for four years
um i’m a member of five you alpha it’s
like a greek life uh it’s like a music
fraternity on campus i’ve been a member
of that since
my sophomore year so this is coming on
the third year
of that um
yeah i’ve
you know i’ve been a part of a lot of
the culture of culture groups like like
kinsan filipino and
uh vsa i’ve like gone to a lot of their
their events and stuff so i i try to
keep myself kind of connected to these
kind of things and
um just kind of like available i guess
i’ve been you know contacted a lot by
psa and stuff and we’ve done we’ve done
some things
so uh
yeah i just really try to stay connected
you know not just like my
my own circle in the conservatory but
it’s kind of like a whole broader
university campus
that’s excellent being a small campus
and you know you know
there are aspects of it you’re able it’s
easy to stay connected i think but did
you feel even though it’s a small campus
that there were times
where it
yours your color could have been
an issue
i wouldn’t say issue
uh per chance but um
you know there’s just no there’s not a
lot of us
a lot of us on this campus
we kind of just stick out like yeah
yeah but since there’s not a lot of us
there’s um
you gotta get the both sides of it of
the like
there’s not a lot of us so we’re more
welcomed more loved or more
like like
you know we have kind of a little bit
more leeway kind of thing out the other
side where it’s like we’re kind of
feeling more ostracized more pushed away
just like not like not to be done with
um so you kind of feel both sides i
don’t see it as an issue because i you
know tend to stay on the good side
um and you know i just kind of ignore
the bad stuff because
you know
there’s that shouldn’t be a reason to
stop me from from doing the things i
want to do absolutely i want to go back
to the fact that you are involved in the
stocktonians and the stocktons
do you have any leadership roles in any
of those yeah i’m the i’ve been the
music director for pacific stock dance
for the last three years
you know so i like him putting all the
concerts and like we recorded an album
or an ep
this semester so that’s going to drop in
june so that’s really exciting um
and then i’ve been
uh just kind of like a representative of
finding alpha in terms of like uh
like the the whole
music fraternity council
um i’ve been a representative of that
for a year so yeah that’s excellent
you know i wanna thank you so much for
um you know giving your time and sharing
you know a little bit of your experience
here thank you so much i just wanna end
with something if you’re talking to an a
perspective or new student
african-american student male or female
on campus
is there anything that you would share
to encourage them
i’d say it’s gonna feel different
you know um
not being around people
like you
uh but i say like really appreciate the
use this as the opportunity to diversify
it will it will make you a better person
and that there’s nothing
that’s going to stop you except by you
thank you so much dionne thank you so

Dion Nickelson, Elaine Hanly, Stockton, April 22, 2022.