The mission of Palouse Pathways is the advancement of educational and career opportunities and the provision of educational and career preparation, information and resources.

Our Mission

Palouse Pathways grew from efforts of teachers, parents and community members who wanted to assist and encourage families and students preparing for life beyond high school. Palouse Pathways, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization that was formed in November 2013. 
  • Providing resources, information and inspiration to families to help them prepare their students for colleges and careers.

  • Encouraging and engaging students in college and career planning.

  • Helping students gain admission to colleges and programs.

  • Helping families save for college and make sustainable college financing choices.

  • Supporting the work of local schools and the aspirations of local students.


Meet the team 

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Peggy Jenkins

Palouse Pathways’ founding director, Peggy Jenkins, has a BA (Sociology) and a JD from Boston University, and a certificate in College Admissions Counseling from UCLA Extension. She was once a litigation partner in a large law firm and now works as an independent legal researcher. Helping families and students plan for college and careers is something that brings her great joy and satisfaction. Her son Daniel is a recent graduate of Olin College of Engineering in Needham Mass, where Peggy served as head of the Parent Advisory Board. She is a Member of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors and the Educate Idaho Network. She serves on the board of Backyard Harvest, a non-profit group that helps to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to people in need, and previously served on the boards of the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii, Honolulu Habitat for Humanity and Faith Action for Community Equity.

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Gretchen Wissner

Gretchen, Board President, taught in the Moscow School District from 1979 to 2015. She is a graduate of Andrews University with a master's degree from the University of Montana. As a gifted education teacher for over thirty years, at the elementary through high school level, her areas of specialization are independent research, problem solving, creative and critical thinking, and differentiated instruction. At the high school level, she facilitated an honors-level, directed study program for 40-50 students each semester. She believes that accountability in education must be based on individualized goals, targeting growth for every child. In addition to her work with Palouse Pathways, she currently chairs an educational outreach task force for the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center and serves as a board member for the Auditorium Chamber Music Series.

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Matthew Winchell

Matthew Winchell, Board Vice-President, is currently a sophomore in the Washington State University Honors College, and is a Distinguished Regent Scholar. Matthew has lived in Pullman his entire life and enjoys giving back to the community. He is currently a board member on the Parks and Recreation Commission in Pullman, and is the Kiwanis Community Liaison for Circle K International at Washington State University. Additionally, he is the Senate Public Relations Liaison for ASWSU and works at the Brelsford WSU Visitor Center. Because both of his parents are educators in the Palouse region, Matthew has fostered a deep appreciation for education and the opportunities it can provide. In the future, he is planning on obtaining a masters degree in Public Administration, and he hopes to continue to contribute to the community in as many capacites as possible.

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Jeanne Gayler

Jeanne has Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Nevada, Reno, and worked for large companies in Reno and Las Vegas before moving to Idaho. She has worked for Idaho Public Television since 2002. She has been involved in Christmas For Kids, a local non-profit, since 2000, and currently serves as its treasurer. She offers financial and organizational experience to Palouse Pathways. She hopes to be a resource for information on how to pay for college, and to assist lower income families navigate the process. She has two children who chose colleges that were a great fit for them, and is happy to help others do the same.

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Patricia Bechtel

Palouse Pathways was instrumental in helping Trish and her daughter navigate the complexities of higher education. Trish now serves as a member of the board with a desire to help others in a similar fashion. As a college student and teacher, Trish studied in Germany and Mexico and has degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Washington State University, and the University of Idaho (Ph.D. 2010). She has worked as a teacher and school administrator. Her passion is world languages. She currently teaches Spanish at Lincoln Middle School and Pullman High School.

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Victoria Edet-Bangudu

Originally from Oron, in Akwa Ibom state Victoria Edet-Bangudu, is 5th out of 10 children - 2 brothers and 7 sisters. She grew up in the city of Port Harcourt in Rivers State, Southeast Nigeria. She lived in the religiously volatile North Central city of Jos, Plateau State in Nigeria, for 7 years with her husband and 3 children.

In the summer of 2014, Mrs. Bangudu relocated to the United States in a bid to provide educational stability for her children and escape the frequent religious crises and bomb threats that resulted from terrorist activities in Northern Nigeria.

Mrs. Bangudu has a graduate degree in Family and Consumer Sciences, with emphasis on Human Development and currently serves as a college preparatory specialist working with high school students in a rural community in north Central Idaho, as a Community Outreach Coordinator with TRIO Upward Bound. She is familiar with the dynamics involved in the policies that address educational opportunities for the underserved populations. She has practical knowledge of college entry educational requirements as well as relevant government policies that pertain to educational laws and regulations.

Mrs. Bangudu joined the Palouse Pathways team as a Volunteer in 2017, when her daughter was first introduced to Peggy Jenkins, who played a predominant role in her college search and applications process. Her overarching goal is to help advance the education of promising young adults, one at a time. This she does through collaborations with organizations that have similar goals. She has a passion for helping disadvantaged youths in the society and is very eager to contribute in any way to help those who are ready to navigate the process of “life after high school."

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Monique Lilliard

Monique has been a professor of law since 1987 at the University of Idaho. She is a graduate of Stanford University and UCLA Law School, and has attended the Women in Higher Education Summer Institute held at Bryn Mawr College. She worked as a lawyer and a judicial clerk before teaching. Her specialties are torts and workplace law. She has two teenaged boys, and is committed to bringing national educational and career opportunities to the young people of the Palouse. Monique is descended from a long line of educators. She says, “I want to help people look at their strengths and their dreams, and then strategize with them about how best to bring themselves into full bloom.” To that end she has worked to bring a financial advisor to the area to counsel with parents about short- and long-term college financial planning.

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Ruta Nanivadekar

Ruta is the Volunteer Coordinator for Palouse Pathways. She works in the Training & Development field, supporting employees as they learn leadership skills and grow their careers. She currently works for Aramark, managing their leadership development program for interns and recent college graduate hires. Raised near Seattle, she completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology and Political Science at Western Washington, where she founded a student club called Vikings for Fair Trade. She is currently completing a Masters in Learning and Organizational Change from Northwestern University. In her career and her community work, her mission has always been to empower people with opportunities and skills so that they can create the life they want for themselves. She views education as a critical stepping stone. She joined Palouse Pathways in order to help students across the Palouse navigate their post-high school options so that they can find a path where they truly thrive.

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Ivar Nelson

Ivar moved to Moscow in 1973 after studying at Harvard and Uppsala (Sweden), volunteering for the Peace Corps in Kenya and working for the State Department. Ivar founded Bookpeople of Moscow and is delighted that it continues so well 40 years later under Carol Spurling and Stefan Werner. He has published books and magazines (including Palouse Journal) and directed university presses. He has served as a board member and/or officer of the Moscow-Latah County Economic Development Council, Prichard Art Gallery, Palouse Clearwater Environmental Institute, Rendezvous in the Park, and the Kenworthy Performing Arts Center. Ivar was on the Moscow High School parents’ organization board when his daughter was a student there. He does admission interviews of local applicants for Harvard University.

Palouse Pathways, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization that was formed in November 2013.