Mary Ellen Friends began teaching at Deerfield in the fall of 1995. She graduated from Brown University with a BA in East Asian Studies in 1987, and she studied for two years in Taiwan, first at Tunghai University and then at Stanford University's Inter-University Program for Chinese Language Studies (IUP), before enrolling in graduate studies at Yale. Mary Ellen teaches in the History and Social Studies Department (with a focus on Asia), she is a member of the Global Studies Committee, and she coaches field hockey and ultimate disk.
Mary Ellen served for 13 years as a dorm parent in Mather and McAlister Dormitories, and she currently lives in Williams House with her husband, John, and their big, friendly dogs. Her two fabulous children, Caleb ’16 and Ellie '17, are in college. Mary Ellen directed or co-led eight summer programs in China between 2000 and 2013, and she spent the last few summers writing her doctoral thesis. She earned the PhD in East Asian Languages and Literatures from Yale University in May of 2019.