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Ellen Mahaffy

Ellen Mahaffy
  • Associate Professor
  • Communication and Journalism
  • Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

After earning my BFA in photography I could have become a commercial photographer, who created images for others. Instead I remained committed to fine art photography, and supplemented my income by with jobs in sales, photo assisting, freelance, and darkroom work. Graduate school at the Visual Studies Workshop expanded my photographic repertoire to include the written word, giving me new tools with which to create and preserve stories, including my artist's book, Nothing Was Ever Said. I also developed my skills as a graphic designer, which enabled me to enter the ad agency world, as both a print production manager and advertising director. 

Through my avocation, Shotokan Karate, where I led self defense, I entered academic teaching with an array of real world experiences to share. Before landing at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, I taught at Rochester Institute of Technology, the University of Nevada, Reno, and South Lake Tahoe Community College. 

My passion for teaching derives from my interest in preserving stories. I assist my students in using multimedia technologies to share people's stories. Some of their work is available at CJ 184.002 video projects, This Is Women's Studies, which was created as part of the university's centennial celebration.

Teaching Interests


  • Photography
  • Photojournalism
  • Video
  • Graphic Design
  • Visual Communication
  • Documentary Film


  • Affiliate, Women's Studies Program
  • Women's Studies Program Steering Committee
  •  University Senate Technology Committee
  •  UWEC Shotokan Karate Club
  •  UWEC Photography Club
  •  Eau Queer Film Festival (Executive Director)
Research and Creative Activities
  • Queer Cinema
  • Social Landscape
  • Surreal Landscape
  • Artists’ Books


  • MFA, The College at Brockport and the Visual Studies Workshop, State University of New York (Visual Studies)
  • BFA, Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, Maryland (Photography)


Honors and Recognitions
  • WMNS Feminist Award (2011)
  • WMNS Service Award (2017)
Professional Memberships
  • SPE
  • NPPA