"Whatever happens, I know I want to have a lifelong career in public service law. I would like to spend my time helping others who have found themselves in circumstances which render them incapable of helping themselves," said Wheat, who earned a bachelor's degree in political science and a minor in history from Idaho State University.
Wheat says she chose Gonzaga Law in part because of its commitment to public service.
"I have always wanted to help people, and their mission seemed to align with mine," she said. "When I visited, I fell in love with Spokane -- the river, the downtown, the beautiful campus. I was charmed. I knew Gonzaga was where I wanted to be."
Wheat credits Inga Laurent, assistant professor and director of the Externship Program, for her ability to teach students the skills they need in their future work. She also has high praise for local attorneys John "Jay" McEntire and Colin Prince, who serve as adjunct professors.
"They teach the most practical classes I have ever taken. Their criminal procedure class gave incredible insight into what day-to-day cases are like when you are a criminal attorney. I learned so many valuable lessons that I will take with me throughout the rest of my career," she said. "I wish I'd had the opportunity to take more classes like theirs throughout my academic career."
She also credits Brooks Holland, associate dean for academic affairs, whom she calls "the perfect person to have in your corner. He cares about the students and about the school. He does his best to help all those in need and keep the school running smoothly."
Steve Roberts, Wheat's internship supervisor at Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington and Idaho, and her coach for National Moot Court competition, became an important mentor.
"I would be nowhere without Steve," she said. "Moot court was an incredible experience. It made me a better writer and speaker. I truly enjoyed my time on the team."
In addition to the faculty and staff, Wheat said she will miss the friends she has made through Gonzaga Law.
"The friends I have made over the past three years have truly become my family," she said. "I will miss all of the relationships I have been able to create and grow during my time at Gonzaga."