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Mark was born in 1945 in New York City and was raised there and in nearby Harrison, N.Y.  He received his Bachelor's degree in Geology from Columbia College in 1966 and, after attending the University of Michigan's summer field camp in Jackson, Wyoming in the summer of 1966, he received his Master's degree from the University of Wyoming in 1969.
He had a short stint as a geologist with Humble Oil & Refining Company in Denver and then was an Earth Science teacher in the Lakeland School District in Westchester County, N.Y. for 19 years. He is currently an adjunct professor of education with Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., specializing in teaching Science to elementary, special education and ESL (English as a Second Language) students. He has been married to Chantal Shafe for 33 years and they have 3 sons and 2 grandsons.