Founder & Chief Scientist
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.
Chief Executive Officer
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
VP of Instruction
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.”
Director of Development
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.
Director of Research
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 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.
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.
Director of Human Resources & Finance
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.
Research Software Engineer
Tony has more than 20 years experience in R & D (his kids’ initials are even R & D) in everything from supercomputing chip design at Tera/Cray computer to software research and development at Pacific Northwest National Lab. Tony has received Bachelor’s Degrees from Whitman College and the California Institute of Technology as well as two master’s degrees from the University of Washington in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Tony’s interest in education started with his parents who both stressed the importance of a good education to his entire (large) family. It continued when he started tutoring in a kindergarten classroom as a young adult and was cemented when he started teaching at the community college level and coaching his kids in basketball and baseball over the last few years. With an interest in the brain-mind connection since high school, a passion for data visualization, and several degrees in technology, education technology seems like the perfect fit.
Favorite Childhood Book: I went through several phases of favorite books including The Hobbit, The Phantom Tollbooth and Where The Red Fern Grows. If I had to pick one it would probably be The Phantom Tollbooth, which I was just able to read with my oldest son who also really enjoyed it.
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.
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.
Nick is a software engineer who has worked on a variety of products and platforms from enterprise iOS apps to video games and game development tools. Partly inspired by his wife earning a Master’s Degree in Education, Nick joined Enlearn to help tackle the big challenges in making education more adaptive and meaningful for all students.
Outside of work Nick enjoys a quiet life with his wife, daughter, and dog, and is enrolled with Berklee College of Music online where he is working towards a degree in music composition. He hopes to someday write the music for video games and films
Favorite Childhood Book: Where The Wild Things Are is the most memorable book from my childhood. I really enjoyed the story itself, but more importantly the book and the stuffed animals were a cornerstone of my kindergarten where I made some of my life-long friends.
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.
Jeramie is originally from exotic South Dakota, but he has lived in Seattle almost long enough to be considered native. He graduated with a Double Major in Computer Science and German and then added a Math Minor for fun. He has enjoyed a few years as an exchange student as well as having spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar, all in Germany. He has more than a decade of software writing experience with some of his early work spanning basic web development and start-up companies to smashing plants and zombies together at a local Seattle game studio. Jeramie jumped at the chance to be a part of Enlearn. Even if he wasn’t a father of 2 young children, he would still feel strongly about the role of technology in education and would want to be a part of that field in some way.
Favorite Childhood book: One of my first books I remember really enjoying was The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander. I think it was this book that acted as a gateway drug to other science fiction and fantasy authors that I grew to love like Dune by Frank Herbert and The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon.
Head of Product
Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Melissa made her way west to pursue her MS in Writing as well as a graduate certificate in sustainability at Portland State University, where she did extensive research on how the book publishing industry could become more sustainable. Her research resulted in a book titled, “Rethinking Paper & Ink” which is still used by publishers like Macmillan as an internal resource. Melissa ran her own freelance publishing, editing, and writing company for years after grad school, specializing in the sustainability industry.
Most recently, Melissa was Director of Program Operations at an e-learning company where she was in charge of figuring out the best ways to create amazing learning experiences for Fortune 500 companies. She loves working in fast-paced environments where people are trying to solve difficult and important questions.
In her free time, Melissa is usually running somewhere on a trail, playing guitar, doing yoga, gardening, reading about sustainability and biomimicry, or going on adventures with her husband and dog. Not necessarily in that order.
Favorite Childhood Book: The one that sticks out to me the most is “Island of the Blue Dolphins.” I loved that it took place on an island, and I loved the independent and fierce spirit of the female protagonist and, of course, I loved her wolf companion. Later in life I learned that this was actually based on a true story about a Native American woman who was stranded on an Island for 18 years. It’s an amazing story.