Thirty-one years after graduating from high school, Mariko earned her A.A. degree magna cum laude from West Los Angeles College in 2009. She transferred to UCLA in 2011, and in 2013, she graduated cum laude with a B.A. in History and a minor in African American Studies. She earned her M.A. from UC Berkeley in 2015 in the Dept of African American Studies/African Diaspora Studies. Her research interests include 19th century slavery, Black feminism, African American women’s history, genealogy practices, and family myth and memory practices. Her dissertation discusses the commercialization and practice of genealogy, how African American families make meaning from stories of their enslaved ancestors, and how those stories impact family and individual identities.
An important aspect of her work focuses on the lived experiences of African American women. Her research grapples with Black Women’s absence and presence in the production of historical archives and how their representation in the past shapes contemporary notions of Black womanhood, community and identity today.