B.S. Biomedical Engineering, University of Virginia, 2013

"Entrepreneurship is fundamentally the connection between people: the co-founders, their partners, and their customers."

Directly interfacing with students, Alex is described as the “go-to” person for any student who seeks to become immediately well-connected within the UVA entrepreneurship ecosystem and to understand actionable steps for their project. Alex spends the majority of his time cultivating a community of practice, known as Works in Progress, composed of students who are pursuing independent entrepreneurial projects outside of formal programs such as classes, clubs, or competitions.

He also facilitates Creative Problem Solving workshops, teaches a class he designed on applying the Creative Problem Solving process to invention, and focuses heavily on building connections between highly-engaged individuals throughout the invention process. A winner of many entrepreneurial competitions himself, Alex has been the guiding force to refining the pitches of the national and international winners of student entrepreneurship competitions that have put UVA in the spotlight.

Behind the scenes, Alex designs and coordinates large events around celebrating the community of student entrepreneurship projects. He invented, promotes, and runs the fall SPARK: Faces of Technology Innovation and the spring Student Entrepreneurship Project Fair events. Alex designed the program for and helps manage the day-to-day of the Pike Engineering Entrepreneurship Fellowship, a 9-month program that offers the greatest UVA financial support to young entrepreneurs. He also produces the video content related to technology entrepreneurship.

Alex’s research has centered on the insights gained through collecting, maintaining, and visualizing all data related to the Works in Progress community. Through this, he has designed the Works in Progress method, which aligns university programs in a pipeline structure to maximize a university’s impact on cultivating the entrepreneurial mindset within students through the intentional design of peer influences. Through his efforts, the University has been able to account for and support ten-fold more highly-engaged student entrepreneurs per year than in 2015.

Research Interests

  • Intentional Design of Peer Influences
  • Creative Problem Solving
  • Communities of Practice

Works in Progress: A Culture of Founders

The Works in Progress community of practice of highly-engaged student entrepreneurs.

In the News

Selected Publications

  • "Student Engagement on Entrepreneurial Projects as a Direct Metric for New Venture Creation" at the Global Consortium of Entrepreneurship Centers Conference, 2017 Alexander Zorychta
  • "The Social Mechanisms of Supporting Entrepreneurial Projects Beyond the Classroom" in the ASEE Proceedings, 2017. Alexander Zorychta & Elizabeth P. Pyle
  • "Aspiring Entrepreneurs Should Not Major in Entrepreneurship" in the Journal of the Advances in the Study of Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Economic Growth, Vol. 27: The Great Debates in Entrepreneurship, 2017 Alexander Zorychta
  • "Works in Progress: The Social Mechanism of Supporting Entrepreneurial Projects Beyond the Classroom" at VentureWell OPEN, 2016. Alexander Zorychta
  • WAGILabs Playbook: An Idea Incubator for Kids' Ideas that will Change the World! (ISBN 978 1546703549), 2017 Chic Thompson with Sandy Damashek and Emmanuel Abebrese, Laura DelPrato, and Alexander Zorychta

Courses Taught

  • Creativity for Invention Spring 2018

Featured Grants & Projects

  • Pike Engineering Entrepreneurship Fellows Program (2017-2020)

    The Pike Family has committed funding dedicated for the creation of an innovative program and competition to promote entrepreneurship in the next generation of engineers. The program provides seed funding for prototypes and research along with mentoring from industry experts and venture capitalists. The year long program ends each year with an Annual Showcase during which each team presents to a nationally-renowned panel of judges with the top team winning a grand prize.

  • Creative Problem Solving Materials (2018-2019)

    UVA Parents Fund

    A generous grant from the UVA Parents Fund to provide bridge funding for materials used in our successful Creative Problem Solving workshops.