AtomicMind helps students aim high


We are writers, artists, and musicians. We are athletes, activists, journalists, and engineers. We are former admissions committee members. Our team of Ivy League and MIT graduates has a passion for mentorship and education and will help you boldly build your story for elite college admissions.

Our Story

The AtomicMind method has been developed through years of experience helping students differentiate themselves and navigate the elite college admissions process. This is one of the most important paths you will ever travel, and we take that journey as seriously as you do.

We don’t just help students put together their applications, statements, and essays — we help students build habits, cultivate interests and achievements, hone their self-awareness and critical thinking, and develop the resourcefulness, emotional intelligence, growth mindsets, and sense of personal power that will enable them to flourish on their path to the top colleges and beyond.

We work with students from all over the globe to realize their dreams. Our team of mentors, strategists, tutors, advisors, and admissions experts use their individual expertise, decades of experience, research, and proprietary data to guide student success.

Executive Team

Leelila Strogov

Founder and CEO

Leelila’s passion lies in helping students author their own personal stories by helping them pursue interests that are both unique and layered. Some of Leelila’s favorite success stories include a girl who used heavy metal music to inspire her Chinese calligraphy and gain admission to both Harvard and Stanford; a boy who became a straight-A student after nearly failing out of school to then be accepted to several Ivies; and a girl who, without a single extracurricular activity, persuaded an admissions committee that, despite her extreme introversion, she had much to offer its Ivy League community.

Leelila works with students around the world. Having lived in Europe and Asia, Leelila uses her international background and knowledge of various educational programs (e.g., AP, IB, GCSE) to help families prepare for and navigate their educational path.

Leelila earned her Bachelor of Science degree from MIT and, with dual interests in the humanities and sciences, draws from her experiences as a journalist, filmmaker, published author, and magazine editor to help motivate students to succeed no matter what their personal interests may be.

Ernie Liang

President and COO

Ernie’s favorite thing to do is to help students find unique ways to explore their interests, such as performing standup comedy, launching an award-winning literary magazine, patenting an invention, and conducting a humanitarian trip to North Korea. His own personal interests include teaching Krav Maga, reading David Foster Wallace’s non-fiction, learning how to smoke brisket from Aaron Franklin, and fantasizing about breaking 80 on the golf course.

Having earned degrees at MIT and Harvard Business School, Ernie found that he especially loved his classes in entrepreneurship and creativity. He’s been awarded five patents and has led companies in the education and technology sectors.

Rachel Potts

Director of Student Services

Rachel comes to AtomicMind with over 26 years of experience in education. She spent many years focused on foundational literacy and reading pedagogy in partnership with Teachers College at Columbia University. While in the classroom, Rachel was a New Jersey Lead Teacher with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. She then became an instructional coach and curriculum coordinator, sharing her deep knowledge of engaged practices and effective pedagogy with teachers to maximize student learning and growth. She has presented countless workshops on developmental learning and literacy to parents and educators alike. Rachel holds a BS in Human Development and Family Studies and an MA in Special Education.

Rachel has worked at the intersection of instructional support and trauma informed, healing centered educational practices. She is passionate about fostering authentic, supportive relationships between students, families, and educators; she believes that those relationships yield the highest levels of student achievement and growth — academically as well as emotionally.

Rachel’s personal interests include hanging out with her two teenagers, cross training, reading, yoga, being outdoors, and journaling. She is a certified meditation instructor and shares the gift of mindfulness freely with those frequently on the margins of wellness spaces, including children in urban school settings, incarcerated people, and BIPOC women.

Sophia Seidner

Director of Student Engagement

Sophia is passionate about the ways in which education and storytelling intersect. She previously worked in book publishing where she derived great satisfaction from playing an important role in making illuminating and entertaining trade and educational books available to readers. She draws on her many years of experience helping authors write their books, build their careers, and market themselves, to help students develop and tell their own stories as authentically and compellingly as possible.

Sophia earned her Bachelor of Arts in art history and political science from Columbia University.

Christopher Menone

Director of Academic Research & Special Projects

Christopher is a graduate of Princeton and Yale. He has experience teaching math, science, English, history, writing, and test prep, mostly to high-school and college students. In addition, he has worked with students in a number of specialized subjects, including logic, classical geography, speleology, art history, film studies, comparative government, ethical reasoning, product development, social entrepreneurship, and parasitology. His multifaceted education, which included writing both undergraduate and graduate theses, has fostered in him a love of learning that he tries to pass along to his students.

Stephanie Chen

Director of Marketing & Business Development

Since high school, Stephanie has been heavily involved in tutoring and mentoring young people. She’s taught math to bilingual students at the Swearer Center for Urban Youth and mentored children at New Horizons Community Charter School. After college, Stephanie worked in consulting for Ernst & Young and then brought her analytical skills to serve as Director of Corporate Strategy for Brattle Street, a boutique education consultancy. At Brattle Street, she analyzed the online education space, created curricula for online courses in public speaking, literature, and history, and helped design an EdTech platform. Stephanie earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and education from Brown University and her MBA from Columbia Business School.

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