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Most students working for the Lassonde New Venture Development Center gain valuable experience by helping an existing company get started. Josh Eckman, on the other hand, started a company while he was in the center.

Eckman went to the University of Utah for his undergrad in engineering. Then, Eckman served a religious mission in South Korea and came back with a desire to travel the world, so he changed to a double major in Asian studies and business administration. At one point, Eckman ran into a friend who told him to look into the Lassonde New Venture Development Center.

As an undergraduate student, Eckman worked on a project involving aircraft wiring and attempting to find parts of the wiring that are degrading. He also worked on technologies for avalanche monitoring and commercial construction.

“These were examples where the tech was broadly applicable. We were tasked with determining feasible market applications and building business cases,” Eckman said.

While working on these projects, Eckman realized that he missed the STEM component that was missing in business administration and Asian studies. He decided to get an engineering degree. He could either get another undergraduate degree in four years, or he could get a graduate degree in two years. Eckman decided to go for efficiency. In his senior year of undergrad, Eckman took high-level engineering classes to prove that he was ready. He applied to several top engineering graduate schools and was accepted to all of them.

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