Mariko was born and raised in Japan. She came to the US for the first when she was 16 years old as a high school exchange student to learn English for a year. After graduating from high school in Japan, she came back to study more. Mariko started off as a refugee youth mentoring program intern at ECDC, and officially joined ECDC in August 2020 as an Intensive Case Manager for the Preferred Communities (PC) program. While she was in school, she worked in the legal field as a legal assistant and volunteered at a local nonprofit for asylum seekers. Mariko received her BA in Global Studies with minors in Anthropology and Sociology from the University of Maryland.