Marissiko Wheaton was born and raised in Los Angeles. She attended Santa Monica College and transferred to the University of California, Irvine where she earned her B.A. in Social Ecology. She then obtained her masters degree in Higher Education/Student Personnel Administration from New York University. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, she worked in several areas within student affairs, which include social justice and diversity education, civic engagement, leadership, service-learning, study abroad and residential life. Her research interests include student activism, social identity development and campus climate. She is advised by Dr. Adrianna Kezar.