Ellis earned her Master of Arts in Communication and Doctor of Philosophy in Communication, Education, and Curriculum from The Ohio State University. Her primary field of interest is communication, especially speech communication. Her doctoral work was in the area of speech anxiety; she developed a method, The Awareness and Control Method, to help individuals overcome the fear of public speaking. Ellis has trained more than 10,000 individuals in the method from children to teachers to business people to generals in the Army. She wants to continue research on the Awareness and Control Method's effectiveness for individuals giving virtual presentations. Ellis is also interested in leadership research, especially the role of women in leadership. Her interest in leadership developed during her 28 year career as president of Management Dimensions, Inc. and her roles in leadership positions for nonprofit organizations.