Mary Ellen has a Bachelor of Arts in History and Archaeology from University College Cork. She completed the MBS Government also at University College Cork in 2010. Her Masters thesis was titled "The Europeanisation of Gender Equality: Using Hybrid Governance to Further Equality in the Union" which was supervised by Dr. Emmanuelle Schon-Quinlivan and Dr. Clodagh Harris. She started her PhD in the University of Limerick in February 2011 under the supervision of Dr. Maura Adshead and Dr. Bernadette Connaughton. For spring 2011 she was a tutor on the module PO4118 - Ireland and EU membership.
Her research interests include: EU and Irish politics, Europeanisation, social policy, gender equality, poverty and inequality, public policy and policy transfer.