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Marissa Sakoda

Marissa Sakoda

Medical personnel, researchers and first responders are sacrificing their health and wellbeing every day for the safety of our community. And while their bravery rarely goes unnoticed, what the public may not see are the personal lives behind the heroes, the talents and passions that fuel their lives beyond the bounds of their professions. Talents and passions like music. Learn more about these community connections in our Summer 2020 Newsletter

Marissa Sakoda is a fourth-year neurology resident at the University of Washington. She’s also an immensely talented viola player who traces her musical roots back to Hawaii Youth Symphony. After learning to play the violin at the age of five, Sakoda developed a love for music, which evolved into a love for the viola in elementary school.

“I picked up the viola at the request of my school orchestra instructor, and it was one of the best decisions I ever made,” reflected Sakoda. “Learning to play the viola afforded me so many opportunities in HYS, a quartet in high school, and throughout college when I joined the UC Berkeley symphony orchestra and chamber orchestra.”

More than just a hobby or enjoyable pastime, music was what first drew Sakoda to a career in medicine. “I first discovered neuroscience through a science fair project I completed in the sixth grade examining the effects of studying music on reading comprehension skills. After that project, I knew neurology was my passion and that continuing to study music would help me to reach my goals.”

Now in the age of COVID-19, Sakoda works as a modern-day healthcare hero, supporting the people around Washington state in the fight against the pandemic. “As the initial COVID-19 hot spot in the US, Seattle has been a scary place to work as a healthcare provider, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow as a physician during the pandemic. I hope what we see of the neurologic sequelae of COVID-19 here will help further the study of the virus and how to treat it.”

“I first discovered neuroscience through a science fair project I completed in the sixth grade examining the effects of studying music on reading comprehension skills. After that project, I knew neurology was my passion and that continuing to study music would help me to reach my goals.”