First students complete Lassonde+X program

A group of 45 students were the first to compete the new Lassonde+X program during the 2020-21 academic year. Lassonde+X is a three-course program that allows any undergraduate student at the University of Utah to “entrepreneur your major” – the “X” is their major. The program is offered by the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy, in partnership with the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, at the David Eccles School of Business.

Each of these students will receive a Lassonde+X designation on their academic transcripts. More importantly, they learned entrepreneurial skills and how to apply them to their majors and life goals.

“These students showed they have what it takes to create value and see their academic work with an entrepreneurial mindset,” said Kathy Hajeb, a director at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and associate professor at the Eccles School. “Students have expressed that thinking in terms of value creation and translating their academic and extracurricular work through an entrepreneurial lens has been transformative in how they see their college experience.”

Hajeb added, “The Lassonde +X program strives to give every student the opportunity to go beyond learning to doing and gain the practical experience of creating value in any academic area they love. We think every student would benefit by developing the skills to create value in their major.”

The first students to complete the program are studying 24 different majors from across campus. They include everything from music and engineering to communications and finance. Find a complete listing of all the students who have finished the program below.

The Lassonde+X program is one of the latest additions to the top-10 ranked entrepreneurship program provided by the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy and Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. The Lassonde+X program was announced in summer 2019 as the Eccles School expanded its academic opportunities to study entrepreneurship.

“We are proud to offer some of the most diverse and compelling programs for students who want to study entrepreneurship at the undergraduate or graduate level,” said Matthew Higgins, chair of the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy. “We also urge every student to apply what they are learning in class by launching or joining a company with support from many extracurricular programs.”

Lassonde+X students learn the entrepreneurial mindset to help them become innovators, problem-solvers and change-makers. All students benefit from learning entrepreneurial skills, such as working on interdisciplinary teams, identifying opportunities, starting a company, developing a product, marketing and more.

To complete the Lassonde+X program, students complete three courses. First, they take ENTP 1010 (or BCOR 2040 for business majors). Second, they take ENTP 1020. Third, they complete the program by taking a one-credit portfolio course (ENTP 2050), where they create a website to demonstrate how they have applied an entrepreneurial mindset.

“The Lassonde+X program provides an academic bridge between the student’s major and opportunities to learn entrepreneurship at the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute and the Eccles School,” Hajeb said. “It allows students to learn valuable skills while also doing practical, applied experience projects to learn by doing.”

Alexandra Beringer is among the first students to complete the Lassonde+X program. She is a business administration major. She enrolled in the program to expand her entrepreneurial mindset and test her skills.

“The Lassonde+X program has been extremely valuable to me because I learned a lot about myself and how I want to move forward with my current business,” Beringer said. “I was able to sharpen the skills needed to be successful: critical thinking, problem-solving, leadership, value-creation and more, as well as apply those skills learned to other areas in my life.”

In her portfolio project, Beringer advanced ReadIt, a website and app that helps college students by providing audio books with real voices to help them understand the text. All students need to do is submit their reading assignments to ReadIt, and a reader will send them the completed audio.

“We use real live voices to make sure that you understand exactly what is being said,” according to the ReadIt website. “No more robotic voices that have no sense of expressing emotion or feeling. This way you can soak up the information without having to go back and replay it several times.”

Beringer said, “The portfolio project allowed me to create added value to my business and explore the unique ways in which I can make a positive impact in the world through the lens of creating impact and value.”

Another student who completed the Lassonde+X program, Danesh Ajioka is a kinesiology major with minors in nutrition and entrepreneurship. He said he enrolled in the program because he wanted to build his entrepreneurial toolbox.

“I learned how to market and advocate for myself and my business, which was a sticking point going into the program,” Ajioka said.

In his Lassonde+X portfolio project, Ajioka developed Ajioka Strength, a fitness company with goals of training clients to maximize results and minimize risk. He said the portfolio helped him gain confidence in himself and his skills.

“I would recommend this program for any student in any major because it offers a very different point of view from any other program I have been in,” Ajioka said. “Even if you aren’t interested in creating your own business, this program will help you focus on why you do what you do and why you study what you are studying.”

Learn more about the Lassonde+X program at eccles.utah.edu/lassondex. All undergraduate students at the University of Utah are welcome to enroll in the program. Start by taking ENTP 1010 (or BCOR 2040 for business students).

Lassonde+X Students 2020-21

Here are the students who completed the Lassonde+X program in fall 2020 or spring 2021 and their major (in alphabetical order):

  • Ajioka, Danesh (Kinesiology)
  • Alfarsi, Mundhir (Geophysics)
  • Anderson, Filip (Political Science)
  • Andriese, Parker (Communication Studies)
  • Beringer, Alexandra (Pre-Business)
  • Bhatia, Raaz (Finance, Information Systems)
  • Boesen, Zach (Kinesiology)
  • Burnham, Parker (Multi-Disciplinary Design)
  • Coonahan, Owen (Entrepreneurship)
  • Deangelis, Gabriel (Pre-Business)
  • Esparza Maciel, Andres (Business Administration, Operations)
  • Gonzalez, Emily (Health Society & Policy)
  • Henderson, Collin (Multi-Disciplinary Design)
  • Henry, Ellyse (Marketing, Operations Systems and Supply Chain)
  • Hirst, Daniel (Electrical Engineering)
  • Huang, Rebekah (Game Design)
  • Jasani, Rohan (Business Management)
  • Jo, Hyun Woo (Communication)
  • Kennedy, Reid (Pre-Business, Finance)
  • Lagoy, Sam (NA)
  • Langton, Alec (Strategic Communications)
  • Lanier, Andrew (Business Administration)
  • Limonti Macedo, Joao Paulo (Business Administration)
  • Mchugh, Conor (NA)
  • Mckay, Sean (Entrepreneurship)
  • Mota-Rosas, Carlos (Information Systems)
  • O’Brien, Trevor (Psychology)
  • Ostendorf, Syd (Film & Media Arts)
  • Parkes, Tressa (Architecture)
  • Pattenaude, Reed (NA)
  • Perez-Velez Solis, Steffan (Psychology, Music)
  • Pradipta, Avila (Business Administration)
  • Preece, Sarah (Quantitative Analysis of Markets and Organizations, English)
  • Ramirez, Luis (Accounting, Information Systems)
  • Rogers, Jc (Kinesiology)
  • Shike, Alex (Mechanical Engineering)
  • Siu, Gabi (Multi-Disciplinary Design)
  • Spangler, Brennon (Information Systems)
  • Tenaglia, Nicholas (Finance)
  • Thorat, Atulya (Film & Media Arts, Entertainment Arts & Engineering)
  • Tremonti, Frederico (Business Administration)
  • Vogelzang, Avery (Pre-Business)
  • Wassweiler, Joe (Multidisciplinary Design)
  • Watters, Grace (Strategic Communications)
  • Whatley, Devyn (Game Design)

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 lassonde.utah.edu.