As early as high school Mariah Dylla Gardiner expressed an interest in the justice system and fighting for the rights of others. During those pivotal years, specifically in 2000, she published an article titled “Criminal Justice” in the Concord Review. The twinkle was in her eyes then for the law profession, and she moved onto college at Portland State University.

During her time at Portland State University, Gardiner became an executive council intern with Reseau Siggil Jigeen, advocating for women’s rights in Dakar, Senegal. She worked with this NGO through the United Nations and completed research, writing on post-colonial feminism in West Africa. She went on to complete her undergraduate studies in French, graduating cum laude. Mariah Dylla Gardiner continued then at the University of Utah and its S.J. Quinney College of Law, where she finished her Juris Doctorate in 2010 following several clerkships and internships along the way before beginning her professional career.