Meet the HEP Team
My parents Gabriel and Maria were born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. They married and moved to Caldwell, Idaho where I was born and raised. I graduated from the University of Idaho with a BA in Spanish and Political Science and began my career in higher education in 2000 as an admissions representative. Since then, I have worked in various areas of student affairs including recruitment and enrollment management; advising; assessment services; career services; conduct; clubs and organizations; crisis counseling; disability services; student government and Title IX.
I am passionate about working with first generation college students and underrepresented populations, and I hope to continue working in student affairs. In my free time, I enjoy working as a counselor, traveling, watching minor league baseball, listening to Tejano music and spending time with my family and friends and my two dogs.
Credentials: Master of Arts, Counseling, Boise State University; Education Specialist, Adult Organizational Learning and Leadership, University of Idaho; Licensed Professional Counselor, State of Idaho; K-12 Pupil Personnel Certification, School Counseling, State of Idaho
My name is Mark Wheaton. I live with my beautiful wife and four kids in the Tri-Cities. I graduated from Othello High School, and later earned my Bachelor’s degree from Whitman College in Walla Walla. I began learning Spanish growing up in Othello, but really became proficient when I played in the Adult Mexican Soccer League, and when I lived in Oaxaca for a month in College. I really love to travel. I especially love visiting my wife’s family in Colima, Mexico. I am also a crazy sports fan who loves the outdoors. My goal is to change the world one person at a time. I really enjoy helping others dream bigger than they ever have, pushing themselves to the limit, and doing what they once believed was impossible.
After growing up in Pullman, I graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Business Administration and then moved to Mexico where I taught English Foreign Language and Social Science classes at the TEC de Monterrey on their Leon, Guanajuato campus. Upon returning to the US, I finished graduate school at WSU where I worked as a Teaching Assistant for two professors in the College of Education in the areas of pedagogy and bilingual literacy. After graduation we moved to Vancouver, WA where I again worked for the College of Education for several more years before transitioning to public schools as an ESL teacher in the Battle Ground School District. As an ESL teacher, I had many years of supporting students in their math, social studies, science and English classes. It is that experience I bring with me now to HEP. There is nothing more exciting to me than seeing a student master a new concept and apply it to new situations. Life is indeed all about learning.
The Palouse has been good to me. I originally encountered these rolling hills while attending the University of Idaho where I earned my dual Bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and Public Relations. After 4 years in Moscow, I spent a semester studying in Puntarenas, Costa Rica before graduating and returning to my home town of Caldwell, ID. There, I began working for the University of Idaho focusing on after school and youth development programming. I parlayed that experience into an opportunity with 21st Century Community Learning Center grants, eventually Directing afterschool programs for four years. In the Summer of 2014 I got married to my beautiful wife, Sara Packebush, right before she started at WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine. At the same time, I began work organizing conferences for Academic Outreach and Innovation here at WSU, ushering in another era of sunsets over wheat fields for me.
Here at HEP am I excited to be returning to my roots of working with underrepresented students to facilitate their development and better outcomes for their futures. I am also excited to be furthering my grant experience at the post-secondary level. In my free time I am a true child of the 80’s; playing video games, Frisbee golfing, cooking an expanding repertoire of ethnic cuisine and enjoying the many great views of the Palouse with Sara, our good dog Odin and our bad cat Catdaleeza.