Our Team

Helping people make better decisions about careers and education wouldn't be possible without our great team at Optimal. We're a bunch of self-described nerds, overachievers, and board game enthusiasts who get excited about solving hard problems and making sure our products live up to our promises.

Sung Rhee

Understanding the difficulties of obtaining a quality, affordable education inspired Sung to found Optimal in 2004. He saw a need to create sites dedicated to providing transparent, data-driven information to empower people to make better decisions for their education and careers. He knows prestige doesn't always translate to quality and doesn't want to see students get a raw deal.

Outside of work, Sung enjoys playing basketball and adding to his collection of Gundam figurines. A fun fact about Sung is that he was a cartoonist for The Harvard Crimson during his college years!

Brittany McCullough
Director of Operations

In her 10 years at the company, Brittany has become the backbone of Optimal. After graduating from Stanford with a B.A. and M.A. in communications, Brittany helped her two younger siblings navigate the college process and found the increased complexity and sky-rocketing prices staggering. She became passionate about helping others find quality education options without huge financial burdens.

When Brittany is not busy working, she enjoys spending time with her two dogs and three chickens, hiking mountains, and kayaking on beautiful Washington lakes.

Gustav Gennrich
Lead Software Engineer

As the engineering lead, Gustav ensures Optimal’s products deliver value to users as quickly and seamlessly as possible. He was drawn to Optimal’s small team and mission of helping others obtain a strong educational foundation. Gustav holds two bachelor’s degrees from University of Washington, one in Computing and Software Systems and another in Applied and Computational Mathematical Sciences.

In his free time, he enjoys working with his hands and taking care of his family. Some of his favorite projects include constructing an elevator for his workshop, renovating a barn, and building a covered playground for his sons.

Heidi Alexander
Office Administrator
Samuel Arnett
Software Engineer
Mariya Bashkatova
Product Manager
Rita Bellitto
Account Specialist
Emile Blouin
Software Engineer
Tyler Crocker
Senior Software Engineer
Victoria Duan
Product Manager
Sarah Fernquest
UX Designer
Emily Ferrier
Senior Product Manager
Sarah Glass
Marketing Specialist
Rachel Hansen
Senior Product Manager
Susan Heinrich
Account Manager
Brian Hepp
Outreach Manager
Nicole Hopler
Marketing Manager
Renae Howard
HR Manager
Oliver Li
Marketing Manager
Paige Longdon
Content Manager
Mylinh Pham
Product Manager
Taitum Ridgway
Senior Product Manager
Aviva Schmitz
Product Manager
Eliana Schwartz
Senior Product Manager
Kellen Schwartz
Marketing Manager
Stuti Sulgaonkar
Software Engineer
Ryan Tam
Data Manager
Lauren Valentine
Lead Account Manager
Adria Vaughan
Marketing Specialist
Ivana Zetko
Product Manager


At Optimal, we embrace a culture of growth, experimentation, and creativity. Our small and agile team allows all members to exercise great responsibility and freedom, leading each person to have a measurable impact on our business. We also offer unique benefits like tuition reimbursement and charitable donation matching. We enjoy solving hard problems as much as our wine and cheese parties and snuggling with our troop of quirky office dogs.