Ellie is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area and an alumna of Biola University and the Torrey Honors College, receiving a B.A. in Communication Studies. She holds an M.L.A. from Johns Hopkins University where she studied the history and philosophy of higher education in the postbellum era. Her research interests include the history of education from antiquity to the present, and the value of the liberal arts in the 21st century.