Lassonde Founders

39 Student Entrepreneurs Admitted to Lassonde Founders Program for 2022-23

The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute – a top-5 ranked division of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah – welcomed the third group of Lassonde Founders for the 2022-23 academic year. Thirty-nine students, including some returning to the program for the second or third year, were admitted into the residential entrepreneur program for undergraduate students. They moved into Lassonde Studios in August for the 2022-23 academic year. Find a complete listing of the admitted students below.

“The Lassonde Founders program allows students to learn and grow in a community of their peers,” said Troy D’Ambrosio, executive director of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and an assistant dean at the Eccles School. “We are committed to teaching skills that will help students beyond graduation. We look forward to working with each of them to help them launch their companies and help them grow as individuals.”

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

Lassonde Founders live with other student entrepreneurs, allowing them to learn from each other. They join entrepreneurship classes and complete the three-course Lassonde+X academic program, where they will learn the entrepreneurial mindset. Lassonde+X is provided in partnership with the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy at the Eccles School.

Outside of the classroom, students gain practical entrepreneurial experience. They are encouraged to launch their ideas and support their peers while building creative problem-solving skills. Lassonde Founders also have access to grants, workshops, mentor opportunities, makerspace, and much more provided by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.

The Lassonde Founders admitted this year come from across the country and are studying many different majors. Their business ideas are even more diverse. The resources and support provided by the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute will help them to hone their ideas, develop a business model, build prototypes, and much more. They will be working toward creating a sustainable business.

Eric Palmquist is a third-year student returning for his second year in the Lassonde Founders program. He is from Geneva, Illinois, and is studying entrepreneurship.

“There is no better place to feel physically, socially, and educationally connected to my area of study and curriculum,” he said. “Founders allows me the easiest and most direct route to a number of invaluable resources. The educational, financial, and social support and advising is not something to take for granted.”

Tiffany Ahna Lahey is a first-year student in the Lassonde Founders program. She is from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and is also studying entrepreneurship.

“I joined the Founders Program because I was looking for like-minded entrepreneurs so that we could bounce ideas off each other,” she said. “I love to boost others up and work toward a common goal for success. For anyone looking to live at Lassonde, do it, there are countless opportunities and always an adventure to be had.”

Lahey is looking forward to the opportunity to support other student entrepreneurs. “I have learned some impactful life skills that I can provide to those around me to help them gain newfound independence and empowerment, so they too can shine their light,” she said.

Matthew Lebrecht is a second-year student beginning his first year in the Founders program. He is studying business administration and is from Salt Lake City. As a Lassonde Founder, he hopes to make the outdoors accessible to everyone.

“The Founders program is the best way to get into entrepreneurship during college,” Lebrecht said. “You can come with any experience level in the business world, with a perfectly planned idea or a rough idea, and the Founders program will lead you in the right direction, wherever that may be.”

Abigail Cheney is another first-year student. In the Founders program, she is creating a gluten-free snack company and developing an app to encourage healthy eating.

“Having celiac disease, making healthy and allergy-friendly food more accessible is something I’m passionate about,” she said. “I believe that there is not only a lack of healthy and allergy-friendly options in stores but a lack of education around it. I want to find a better way to encourage healthy eating.”

The other Lassonde Founders have similar stories and passions.

Learn more about the program here: All incoming and current undergraduate students at the University of Utah are welcome to apply.

2022-23 Lassonde Founders

Here are the students accepted into the Lassonde Founders program for the 2022-23 academic year (in alphabetical order):

  • Vivek Anandh – Holladay, UT (hometown) – Entrepreneurship (subject studying)
  • Sean Andrews – Reno, NV – Undecided
  • Rowan Block – Colorado Springs, CO – Entrepreneurship
  • Collin Brown – Salt Lake City, UT – Computer Science
  • Barry Carta – Elmhurst, IL – Entrepreneurship
  • John Carter – Farmington, UT – Undecided
  • Abigail Cheney – New Canaan, CT – Undecided
  • Gregory Chiaradonna – Collegeville, PA – Entrepreneurship
  • Reilly Curry – Pleasanton, CT – Marketing
  • Alyssa Dominguez – Alpine, UT – Entrepreneurship
  • Nicole Duckering – Sherwood, OR – Marketing
  • Juliette Dueffert – Washington DC – History
  • Lynzi Hallett – Midway, UT– Undecided
  • Noelle Kieffer – Salt Lake City, UT– Undecided
  • Brendan Kraft – Los Angeles, CA – Games
  • Tiffany Lahey – Highlands Ranch, CO – Entrepreneurship
  • Isabella Lambert – Park City, UT – Entrepreneurship
  • Matthew Lebrecht – Salt Lake City, UT – Business Administration
  • Darin Lo Pinedo – Temple City, CA – Finance
  • Tagisaina Malili – Taylorsville, UT – Finance
  • Kaden Meza – Salt Lake City, UT – Film and Media Arts
  • Makayla Milord – Provo, UT – Marketing
  • Alexander Moran – Reston, VA – Games
  • Sydney Nelson – Phoenix, AZ – Mechanical Engineering
  • Brianna Nevarez – Highland, UT – Biomedical Engineering
  • Kaitlyn Oliva – Lehi, UT – Marketing
  • Forbes Painter – Salt Lake City, UT – Games
  • Erick Palmquist – Geneva, IL – Entrepreneurship
  • Makayla Pickering – Orem, UT – Finance
  • Nathan Privari – Boise, ID – Marketing
  • Thomas Rash – Moon Township, PA – Entrepreneurship
  • Braeden Riley – Los Angeles, CA – Entrepreneurship
  • Katherine Rose – St. George, UT – Entrepreneurship
  • Jay Selznick – Coto de Caza, CA – Entrepreneurship
  • Tori Semick – Lehi, UT – Entrepreneurship
  • Adrian Sucahyo – Salt Lake City, UT – Electrical Engineering
  • Kaeden Warnberg-Lemm – Salt Lake City, UT – Entrepreneurship
  • Justin Weiss – Trabuco Canyon, CA – Games
  • Isaac White – Lawrence, KS – Games

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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