Our Team

Zoran Popovic

Zoran Popovic

Founder & Chief Scientist

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Zoran Popović is a Professor of Computer Science and the Director of the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington, as well as founder of Enlearn. Trained as a computer scientist, his research focuses on creating engaging environments for learning and scientific discovery. He is one of the leaders in the field of large-scale citizen science. His laboratory created Foldit, a biochemistry game that produced four Nature publications, and showed for the first time that novices can be developed into world-class experts in a science domain through game-based scientific discovery. His laboratory has produced award-winning math learning games played by over five million learners worldwide. He is currently focusing on engaging methods that can rapidly develop mastery and expertise in arbitrary domains with particular focus on scientific breakthroughs and revolutionizing K-12 math education. Zoran is known for conducting large-scale educational campaigns including Algebra Challenges conducted in Washington, Minnesota, and Norway with almost 100,000 students. To maximize the impact of his research, he founded Enlearn to develop the first platform that adapts all aspects of the learning ecosystem by specializing to each curriculum, student, classroom and teacher in realtime, towards maximizing learning outcomes. His contributions to the field of interactive computer experiences have been recognized by a number of awards including the NSF CAREER Award, Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship and ACM SIGGRAPH Significant New Researcher Award.
Paul Ellis

Paul Ellis

Director of Product

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Paul Ellis has more than 20 years experience in designing, developing, and delivering award-winning products and solutions. Prior to joining Enlearn, Paul spent ten years at Adobe Systems building digital video production tools and cloud-based content services. Paul received a Bachelor in Computer Science from the University at Buffalo.

Paul’s interest in education and deep respect for teaching began with his mom who was an elementary school teacher. After a brief stint tutoring math to 5th graders, Paul realized he could have a greater impact by focusing on education technology.

Favorite Childhood Books: The Cat in the Hat. Dr. Seuss’ amazingly imaginative illustrations and whimsical style spoke to me. I had a subscription to the Dr. Seuss series of books and eagerly looked forward to each delivery.

Alison Bower

Alison Bower

Communications & Internal Education Manager

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Alison’s experience in education and communication includes 18 years of teaching, administration, curricular planning, staff management, parent education, and professional development. With an undergraduate degree in English from Colgate and a masters in education from Columbia Teachers College, Alison put her passion for progressive teaching toward student learning as the assistant head of Giddens School in Seattle, where a mission of equity and social justice guided teaching and learning each day. Most recently she worked as the educational consultant and then head of school for the new North Seattle French School.

 

Alison joined Enlearn to manage the first multi-school classroom pilots and was instantly motivated by the high level of interest and enthusiasm she witnessed in teachers and students alike. “Once I saw that the Enlearn platform engaged students and served teachers respectfully while delivering consistently positive learning outcomes, I knew that I wanted to be a part of this future for students.”

Alison loves humor, people who are invested in helping those around them, singing, traveling with her family, and spending time in her backyard garden with friends and family. In her spare time, Alison strives mightily to have her two boys do their own laundry. Which, if she is honest, is not going that well. Yet.

Favorite Childhood Book: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte…because it was the first novel I read, closed, then opened again to reread immediately. I had officially fallen in love with reading.

Matt Westhoff

Matt Westhoff

Software Engineer

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Matt is a developer with 13 years of professional experience. He’s worked in a variety of domains, running the gamut from legislative bill tracking systems for the state of Maryland, consulting, and healthcare related applications, and video games including Rise of Legends, Catan for Xbox and Plants Vs. Zombies 2.

Besides programming, Matt enjoys rock climbing, is a voracious reader of fiction and nonfiction, and has owned a guitar for years.

Favorite Childhood Book: I had a hard time deciding between The Phantom Tollbooth and My Side of the Mountain. The Phantom Tollbooth helped kick off my love of reading, but My Side of the Mountain made me want to have a falcon, a desire I vicariously live out through my sister, a master falconer.

Hasmik Tananyan

Hasmik Tananyan

Software Engineer

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With a Master’s degree in Radiophysics from Yerevan State University in Armenia, Hasmik’s experiences as an engineer include leadership in creation, execution, and automation of testing processes, test strategies and plans, bug documentation, and sub-projects of large EDA (Electronic Design Automation) for Synopsys™. Hasmik taught herself programming after she moved to the United States. She worked diligently over two years, while simultaneously learning English… no easy feat, but one we are thankful she undertook.

“Ten minutes after I walked in the door of Enlearn for the interview, I realized this was where I wanted to be. The other developers were curious about what I understood and had to offer, even with my language barrier, which was big! Working at Enlearn is a fit for me, because it is more than just making money when I go to work. It is about doing good work to change the world and make education more positive for kids. We have the freedom to explore that here.”

Favorite Childhood Book: Dr. Dolittle, by Hugh Lofting. I loved this book because reading was hard for me until I was about seven years old. It was the first book that I read which was really interesting and made me want to read more. There were days when I just wanted to sit and read all day long to find out what the next adventure would be for this veterinarian and his talking animals!

Olga Klepikova

Olga Klepikova

Software Engineer

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Born in Ukraine, solving problems was a family business from the beginning for Olga. Her mother, a professor of engineering, and her father, a software engineer, both modeled high interest, persistence, and curiosity in their respective fields. Olga’s family moved to Boston when she was 11, and she later graduated from Northeastern University with a double major in Computer Science and Business, which she credits to her parents’ interests and the inspiration she gained from both.

 

After working at Microsoft as an intern and then a developer, Olga quickly learned that becoming better at software development consistently sustained her interest, so she looked for teams supporting this growth. With experience in product activation, big data, and analysis systems, Olga remained at Microsoft for 7 years working on cutting-edge technologies. From there she moved to Docusign as a senior developer and is now here with us at Enlearn.

“I was drawn to working at Enlearn for a few reasons. The first of which is our mission to help kids learn with software that actually supports them. I really like being a part of that bridge and working in close-knit teams to accomplish this. I did not have an easy time as a student when I was a child, because I was mostly left to myself to figure things out in the classroom. Helping kids have a more personalized learning experience to improve is exciting to me.”

Olga likes to travel the world, preferably to tropical places, to learn how others live and interact with one another. She also loves to spend time hiking, paddle boarding, and exercising in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Favorite Childhood Book: Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss. I like the message… No matter how small, you are a person who can make a difference.

Amy Hunter

Amy Hunter

Software Engineer Intern

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Amy comes to Enlearn as an intern from Ada Developers Academy, a Seattle-based, tuition-free training program for women who want to become software developers. Her educational background is in foreign languages and the humanities, double-majoring in Italian Area Studies and French at Southern Methodist University. She earned her master’s degree in French with a concentration in literature from the University of Texas at Austin.

Amy was born and raised in the Seattle-Tacoma area and is a diehard fan of Seattle Mariners baseball. In her free time, she can often be found swing dancing, going to technology-related events, or spending time with friends. Amy is excited to intern at Enlearn because of the collaborative, welcoming nature of the team, the mission to help students learn more effectively, and the opportunity to gain more technical and professional experience as a software developer.

Favorite Childhood Book: Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. It’s a great collection of poems that are funny, clever, subversive and slightly bizarre.

John Mullin

John Mullin

Chief Executive Officer

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Prior to joining Enlearn, John was co-founder and CEO of TeachFirst, a subscription-based multi-media teacher professional development company that became part of Editure Professional Development in 2009.

Prior to TeachFirst, John held executive positions in Marketing and Product Management at several early stage companies in the wireless and streaming media spaces. John earned a B.A. at Brown University and an MBA at the University of Washington.

Favorite Childhood Book: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, because Sam is the best friend ever. A close second would be Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I learned some great early lessons in leadership from Zaphod Beeblebrox

Shane Currier

Shane Currier

Director of Development

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Shane has been interested in computers and education ever since he first played with a Little Professor as a child. After graduating from the University of Oregon with a Bachelor of Science in Computer and Information Science in 1989, he worked as an individual contributor, a team lead, and at the management level at companies as diverse as GTE Government Systems, WRQ, Microsoft, and PopCap Games/EA.

Shane’s ability to facilitate and motivate teams of Engineers has been his biggest challenge and his greatest achievement. He is a certified scrum master, a pretty decent bowler, and a wanna-be sailor.

Favorite Childhood Books: The Xanth Series by Piers Anthony, because I’ll always be a nerdy 13 year-old, and I still like puns. Also The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever by Stephen R Donaldson, because I liked the fact that I hated the hero.

Yun-En Liu

Yun-En Liu

Senior Scientist

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Yun-En is interested in machine learning, program synthesis, education, psychology, and behavioral economics. After graduating from Princeton, he moved across the country to Seattle to complete his Ph.D. in Computer Science from The University of Washington in 2015. His research focuses on the design, creation, and deployment of automatic algorithms for scientific exploration of human behavior in online environments.

Yun-En is excited to work at Enlearn to apply or create new techniques for generating and planning adaptive educational material for students. In his free time, Yun-En spends much of his time on an assortment of hobbies, including playing violin in bands, cooking, weightlifting, and aerial silks…and it has to be said, baking the most delicious and beautiful birthday cakes for each of us here at Enlearn. HUGE perk for the rest of us.

For a list of Yun-En’s research publications, click here.

Favorite Childhood Book: My favorite childhood books were the Xanth novels, a pun-based fantasy series by Piers Anthony. Besides providing a background for my extensive daydreaming, the books touch on a lot of philosophical, societal, political, and moral questions that made me think about how our world ought to work.

Ross Baker

Ross Baker

Software Engineer

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Ross loves distributed systems, squashing duplication, and learning. When not making things with the power of software, he can be found hiking with his family in the Cascade Range. The technical challenges at Enlearn keep Ross on his toes.

Favorite Childhood Book: The Dragon Kite, by Nancy Luenn and Michael Hague. This book teaches that frustration can lead to mastery, and dragons always pay their debts.

Ed Paradis

Ed Paradis

Software Engineer

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Ed has been programming since he received his first computer in the early 90’s. His eclectic career has taken him across the country: building robots in Texas, debugging embedded systems above the Arctic Circle in Alaska, observing training with the Army in South Carolina, writing videos games for Carnegie Mellon University, and taking video calls from investors while driving through the Mojave Desert. Born and raised in Texas with a short detour through Pittsburgh, Ed now considers Seattle his home.

Favorite Childhood Book: The Way Things Work, by David Macaulay. It explains pretty much how everything from computers, to cars, to nuclear power plants work. The great part about it is that the diagrams are drawn such that cavemen and woolly mammoths run the machines. For a nerdy, imaginative kid, this book was like a bible.

Alex Badion

Alex Badion

Software Engineer

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Alex is a Seattle native who graduated from the University of Washington, Bothell with a degree in Computer and Software Systems. His first job out of college was working for RealNetworks on a DVD player that would copy the owner’s movies to an internal hard drive. The product was declared a “Bad Idea” by a court in California and was never released to the public. Next he matched gems for four years at PopCap games and met lots of great people, some of whom now work at Enlearn.

Alex spends much of his time questioning whether he should have hired someone else to work on his house instead of doing it himself. Lately his wife has been able to convince him that his time is valuable and that it’s really nice to have a project takes weeks instead of months. He also enjoys growing vegetables in his garden and fermenting liquids in his basement.

Alex greatly enjoys eating cookies, especially chocolate chip. Some of the better ones to be found in the city are at Delancey pizza, Macrina bakery, and Slab sandwiches. To compensate for his love of cookies he plays water polo with the Seattle Otters, indoor soccer with old PopCap colleagues, and practices yoga with his wife.

Favorite Childhood Book: The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More. Although he doesn’t really remember the “Six More”, the story of Henry Sugar is one he often thinks about when looking at candles or playing Magic the Gathering.

Lovenoor (Lavi) Aulck

Lovenoor (Lavi) Aulck

Research Intern

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Lavi is currently a PhD student in the University of Washington’s DataLab. Prior to pursuing my PhD, he was a Whitaker International Research Fellow at VU University in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He previously graduated from the University of Washington with a BS/MS in bioengineering and a BA in international studies.

 

Broadly, Lavi’s current research focus is on using large-scale, high-dimensional data to better understand social processes. For his PhD work, he has been focusing on educational data mining and leveraging the (vast) amount of data in university databases to better the academic experience for all stakeholders. There are many parallels with this, and Enlearn’s focus on using large amounts of data, machine learning, and analytics to create adaptive educational experiences. Beyond anything else, the opportunity to work in a space that is very similar to his dissertation work while being part of a team that is equally passionate, energetic, and driven towards change drew him to Enlearn above other potential destinations this summer.

 

Favorite Childhood Book: Probably Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday Book. I remember reading it when I was in kindergarten and feeling inspired to go on interplanetary missions.

Sandi Everlove

Sandi Everlove

Chief Learning Officer

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A passionate advocate for children, Sandi brings on the ground experience to her work in education. She was an award-winning high school chemistry teacher with Seattle Public Schools and received the Washington State Golden Apple Award in 1998. Through a U.S. Department of Education grant, she wrote and piloted a number of innovative science courses including an award-winning high school science ethics class. She was a co-founder of Washington’s first secular girls middle school. Her experience internationally included creating and leading professional development opportunities for teachers in Guatemala.

Prior to joining Enlearn, Sandi was the Chief Learning Officer at Washington STEM. In this role, she led efforts to generate and share knowledge of innovation in STEM teaching and learning. In 2000, Sandi founded TeachFirst where she led the development of  digital and face-to-face tools and resources to support teacher learning.

When asked why Sandi feels Enlearn is a fit for her, the response came swiftly, “That’s easy. I want to change the world by making teaching and learning better for all students. We can make that happen here.”

Favorite Childhood Book: To Kill a Mockingbird, I was obsessed with Scout and wanted to be just like her when I grew up (I still do). Two quotes that continue to influence me are: “People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for,” and “Real courage is when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

Jennifer Biely

Jennifer Biely

Finance & HR Manager

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Jennifer has worked in nonprofit management for national and regional organizations doing strategic planning and board development, fundraising, finance, media and public relations, human resources, and social media/community engagement. In her previous lives, she has been an executive director, lawyer, teacher and technical writer, PTA president, and campaign manager. She earned her J.D. from Willamette University College of Law and Bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington.

On weekends she can be found hanging out with her family, working in her garden, reading books, or cheering on her favorite UW team.

Favorite Childhood Books: Curious George and The Hobbit stand out because George and Bilbo were always very curious and good at solving problems. I admired George because he got himself in and out of the best scrapes with his curiosity and resourcefulness, making everyone happy in the end. In each of his misadventures, he would come away with new friends, a bunny, a box of chocolates, a medal, or other such things and would have a blast doing it. Bilbo was always getting himself into trouble, but often with the help of his friends would find his way out of them through ingenuity and often plain old luck. Both characters remained positive despite their troubles, and I admired that.

Durwood Gafford

Durwood Gafford

Software Engineer

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Durwood is interested in logic and problems that need to be solved. After graduating from Georgia Tech in Civil Engineering, he left the deep south for the first time in his life for the “greenest green” hills of Seattle. His first and only pure engineering job was at Boeing, working on ground handling, steering and braking performance analysis, and flight simulation for the brand new 767 aircraft. Durwood then shifted his focus to computer science within the company.

Working in small teams, Durwood’s experience expanded to developing mission training simulators for the B-1 Bomber in Boeing’s Aerospace Division, then on to automated modeling of simulation environments at Bolt, Beranek, Newman, and Lockheed-Martin working on the very first networked simulators for tanks with SIMNET. Durwood has worked on both internal and DARPA-funded R&D and has crafted AAA games for Sony’s Zipper Interactive studio, where his team created the first multi-player console game, SOCOM US Navy Seals. After a short time at PopCap games,

Durwood now finds himself at Enlearn where, as he says, “I’m intentional about transitions in my life. My transition to Enlearn has allowed me to do work that will benefit others while working for a non-profit for the first time.”= Durwood travels around Seattle on his scooter getting rock star parking for the many movies he attends, including those at the Seattle International Film Festival and the Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival for which he is a regular volunteer. He has also traveled extensively within the United States and is thrilled to announce he has a BRAND new granddaughter.

Favorite Childhood Book: Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne…for two reasons: I could always identify with ONE of the characters, depending on my mood, and it taught me to laugh at my foibles. I also loved the Encyclopedia Brown books; they solidified my love for problem solving.

Matt McDonald

Matt McDonald

Software Engineer

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Matt got his first full-time job as a developer for a startup company when he was also a full- time student at Colorado State. With ten years of experience in SAS reporting, server and tools development, and general software engineering, Matt has worked for Microsoft Games’ Kinect Adventures™ and PopCap® Games.

“At Enlearn, I get to work through some of the most technically difficult problems I’ve experienced since becoming a developer, which is really motivating. But what makes this work especially interesting, is that we are ultimately about supporting education and people.”

Breaking, building, and if possible, improving things by working with other people is what makes life interesting for Matt. So, he spends time rock climbing, canoeing, reading, helping others with their art and playing board games.

Favorite Childhood Book: I’ll go with Pablo the Penguin That Hated The Cold. He gets to build things and go on great adventures. Plus, I thought it was funny that he hated the cold.

Cullen Su

Cullen Su

Software Engineer

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Cullen came to Enlearn as a front-end developer after graduating from the University of Washington with Bachelor degrees in Computer Software Engineering and Statistics. While studying at UW, he worked with Professor and Enlearn Founder, Zoran Popovic at the Center for Game Science as an Undergraduate Research Assistant. There he helped develop Creature Capture, a flash game designed to teach kids about fractions. He also worked closely with the Fold-It and Refraction teams during his employment at the Center for Game Science.

Favorite Childhood Book: My favorite book as a kid was The Boxcar Children. It is the most memorable for me because it was the first “chapter book” I read, and I remember feeling extremely proud when I finished the book early in elementary school.

Brian Bender

Brian Bender

Software Engineer

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Brian graduated from Linfield College in Oregon with a BS in computer science and a double minor in mathematics and music. He quickly landed a job with The Resource Group, where he spent five years as a consultant, creating customer integrations for business and accounting systems. Brian recently came to Enlearn, because he was drawn to the Enlearn mission statement.

“I jumped on the job, because the goal of the work–the knowledge that we are all working to improve the education process for children–is huge and positive. In addition to the mission, the interesting problems we get to work on, our weekly kata, and the pair programming we do means that I am learning something new every week, if not every day.”

Brian is a huge sports fan, follows the Seattle Sounders enthusiastically, and can be found at both home and away games in the Emerald City Supporters section cheering and singing in support of the team. Though Brian’s viola and violin from his college days in a chamber group are stored somewhere at his parents’ house, Brian still likes to play guitar casually, collect punk rock records, and go out to hear live music.

Favorite Childhood Book: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, which he probably read a dozen times. Brian loved it for the irreverent humor and because reading his favorite series over and over again always brought him a sense of comfort.