Lassonde founders

31 Student Entrepreneurs Admitted to New Lassonde Founders Program for 2020-21

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute – a top-10 ranked division of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah – welcomed the inaugural group of Lassonde Founders for the 2020-21 academic year. Thirty-one students, plus two student directors, were admitted into the new residential entrepreneur program for undergraduate students. They moved into Lassonde Studios in August for the fall 2020 semester. Find a complete listing of the admitted students below.

“We’re excited to have these exceptional students join us this year as we launch this new program to support young entrepreneurs who want to spend their time at the university to grow a business idea, or maybe several, and learn how to launch a company,” said Troy D’Ambrosio, executive director of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and an assistant dean at the Eccles School.

The students admitted into the program applied by explaining their business idea and why they wanted to learn about entrepreneurship. In the program, they will receive a scholarship to live at Lassonde Studios, a nationally recognized innovation center and dorm. They will also receive extensive support for their startup ideas from the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy at the Eccles School.

Lassonde Founders get the opportunity to live with other serious entrepreneurs, so they can learn from each other. They will join entrepreneurship classes and complete the three-course Lassonde+X academic program, where they will learn the entrepreneurial mindset. They will also have access to grants, workshops, mentor opportunities, makerspace, and much more provided by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.

“We designed the Lassonde Founders program to provide everything a student entrepreneur would need to succeed and have a life-changing experience,” D’Ambrosio said. “We look forward to working with each of them to help them grow their companies and help them grow as individuals. They will be learning skills to use for the rest of their lives.”

The Lassonde Founders admitted this year come from across the country and are studying many different majors, although many are interested in studying entrepreneurship. Their business ideas are even more diverse. Some are interested in fashion and nonprofits, others in engineering or video games. In the program, they will have the opportunity to hone their ideas, develop a business model, build prototypes, and much more. They will be working toward creating a sustainable business.

Nicholas Burum, of Boise, Idaho, is one of the students admitted to the Lassonde Founders program for 2020-21. He is a software developer and plans to study games. “My purpose this year is to begin development of a game and to publish a proof of concept,” he said.

Ella Bachorowsk, of Salt Lake City, is another incoming Lassonde Founder. She has a passion for clothes and is studying design. “I’ve always had an eye for all things beautiful,” she said. “From architecture to design to fashion, I am captivated by details and simplicity. I hope to discover ways to be able to share my passion with the world through the Lassonde Founders program.”

Sydney Hewett is joining the program from Simi Valley, California. She loves being creative, enjoys nature, and wants to study in entrepreneurship. “I will earn my degree in business administration, and then I will own my own business or become a CEO somewhere,” she said.

The other Lassonde Founders have similar stories and passions. Learn more about the program here: The application to join the program for the 2021-22 academic year will open Oct. 1, 2020. All incoming and current undergraduate students at the University of Utah are welcome to apply.

2020-21 Lassonde Founders

Here are the students accepted into the inaugural group of Lassonde Founders for the 2020-21 academic year (in alphabetical order):

  • Kyle Atkinson — Park City, UT (hometown) — Entrepreneurship (subject studying)
  • Ella Bachorowski — Salt Lake City, UT — Design
  • Alexandra Beekley — Sandy, UT — Entrepreneurship
  • Austin Birch — Erda, UT — Entrepreneurship
  • Clinton Bradt — Murray, UT — Entrepreneurship
  • Brighton Brown — Flower Mound, TX — Games
  • Collin Brown — Salt Lake City, UT — Computer Science
  • Stephanie Burnham — Park City, UT — Undecided
  • Nicholas Burum — Boise, ID — Games
  • Owen Coonahan — Sterling, MA — Entrepreneurship
  • Burke Dambly — San Clemente, UT — Accounting
  • Isaiah Delpino — Sandy, UT — Entrepreneurship
  • Riley Easton — Portland, OR — Marketing
  • Andres Esparza — Layton, UT — Management
  • Solomon Fix — Tacoma, WA — Entrepreneurship
  • Molly Gallagher — Park City, UT — Undecided
  • Matthew Gubler — Beaverton, OR — Undecided
  • Quentin Hall — Camarillo, CA — Film & Media Arts
  • Aleksei Hernandez-Nietling — Salt Lake City, UT — Pre-Med
  • Sydney Hewitt — Simi Valley, CA — Entrepreneurship
  • Jolly Karungi (student director), West Valley City, UT – Information Systems
  • Sean McKay — Moab, UT — Entrepreneurship
  • Alexandra Miller — Salt Lake City, UT — Entrepreneurship
  • Manya Nair — South Jordan, UT — Computer Science
  • Justine Nguyen — Clarksville, MD — Management
  • Steffan Perez-Velez Solis — West Jordan, UT — Psychology
  • Maximillian Porter — Reno, NV — Finance
  • Jason Snow (student director) — Kent, WA — Theatre BFA
  • Jacob Sunday — Park City, UT — Computer Science
  • Grace Tidwell — Midway, UT — Entrepreneurship
  • Andrew Wang — Lehi, UT — Games
  • Isaac White — Lawrence, KS — Games
  • Parker Zaharis — Draper, UT — Finance

About the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute is a nationally ranked hub for student entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Utah and an interdisciplinary division of the David Eccles School of Business. The first programs were offered in 2001, through the vision and support of Pierre Lassonde, an alumnus of the Eccles School and successful mining entrepreneur. The institute now provides opportunities for thousands of students to learn about entrepreneurship and innovation. Programs include workshops, networking events, business-plan competitions, startup support, innovation programs, graduate seminars, scholarships, community outreach, and more. All programs are open to students from any academic major or background. The Lassonde Institute also manages Lassonde Studios, a five-story innovation space and housing facility for all students. Learn more at

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