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the Wond'ry E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

November 2016

We are incredibly excited to announce the Grand Opening of the Wond’ry, the epicenter for creativity, collaboration, invention, and entrepreneurship at Vanderbilt University. Where “Wonder” meets “Foundry,” the Wond’ry is a place where new ideas, approaches, and fresh insights are further molded, shaped, and forged into inventions, innovations, and new endeavors that improve the way we live. To that end, we provide an inspiring, inclusive space and innovative programming for students to develop and test ideas alongside their peers with mentorship from faculty, alumni, corporate partners, the Nashville entrepreneurial community and beyond. This three-story, 13,000-square-foot space facilitates trans-institutional collaboration between students and faculty from all schools, levels, and disciplines—from engineers to scientists to entrepreneurs to artists.
Robert Grajewski is the inaugural director of the new Innovation Center, to be located in the new Engineering and Science Building. Vanderbilt University photo: Anne Rayner; VU

Located in the heart of campus, the Wond’ry at the Innovation Pavilion is a hub where new ideas can truly take shape. We welcome you to visit for a tour and learn all about our exciting programs!robertsignature
-Robert Grajewski
Evans Family Executive Director of the Wond’ry

Join Us for our Grand Opening:

Tomorrow, November 9th, the Wond’ry will have its Grand Opening Celebration. This exciting event kicks off with a lecture from 2-3 pm by solar energy leader and Founder and CEO of Ubiquitous Energy, Miles Barr. Following this lecture, the Wond’ry will host a public open house from 3-5 pm. During the open house, visitors can meet the staff, take a tour, experience virtual reality stations, interact with an augmented reality sandbox and responsive floor projection system, view art exhibits, see demonstrations in the Makerspace, browse the Innovation Village, interact with BKON technology, take home Wond’ry swag, and enjoy hot apple cider. Click here for more details.


Highlights from Recent Events:

Zika Rapid Design-A-Thon

On September 26th, the Wond’ry hosted its first ever design challenge. A collaboration between the School of Engineering, School of Medicine, and the Health, Medicine, and Society student organization, this event challenged student teams to develop a conceptual solution to stop the spread of the Zika virus. The winning ideas were sent to the Zika Foundation for further consideration and potential development.

Google Tech Talk

On September 28th, the Wond’ry hosted over 100 people for an information session led by Vanderbilt students that interned with Google. During this exciting talk, students learned first hand what this experience was like, as well as how to pursue a summer internship and ultimately a career in technology.


On October 19th, the Wond’ry kicked off its inaugural Entrepreneurial PreFlight course. We received an overwhelming response from the Vanderbilt community and 40 aspiring entrepreneurs, comprised of a diverse group of students, faculty and staff are now entering the 4th week of this 7 week course designed to introduce participants to key entrepreneurship concepts and practices and help take their business or product idea to the next level. The Wond’ry will offer another session of PreFlight in Spring of 2017.


Introduction to Foam Fabrication Workshop

On October 19th and 26th, students participated in a foam fabrication workshop led by Vanderbilt’s Director of Making, Kevin Galloway, to learn prototyping skills in a fun and unique way by fabricating their own foam Lego style head.


Hult Prize Challenge

On November 7th, the Wond’ry hosted over 150 students, faculty, and staff for the semi-finals of the annual Hult Prize Challenge. Often described as the “Nobel Prize for students”, this year’s focus is on building scalable, sustainable start-up enterprises which restore the rights and dignity of 10 million refugees by 2022. Semi-finalists pitched their ideas to a panel of outside experts and 3 finalists were selected to then pitch their ideas to the entire 150+ person forum. The winning team, Code 4 All, will go on to compete for $1M in social ventures funding in the national competition.

The Hult Prize photo: Anne Rayner; VU

Our Pillar Programs:

Innovation Garage

In the Innovation Garage, an array of corporate and non-profit sponsors partner with Vanderbilt student and faculty teams on cutting-edge research and interdisciplinary projects. The goal of this program is to identify disruptive and innovative solutions that improve industry all while providing unique opportunities for students to build their skills via real-world problem solving.

Entrepreneur Pre-Flight

For aspiring Vanderbilt entrepreneurs, the Wond’ry offers a 7 week Pre-Flight program that provides the foundational knowledge needed to successfully identify, assess, and ultimately launch a quality for profit or non-profit venture.

Social Entrepreneurship & Ventures

The Social Entrepreneurship Program is an important platform for students to work together to tackle important societal problems like affordable housing, transportation and health, which if successful can be adopted into full scale programs and potential partnerships with non-profit and government organizations.

Fostering an Innovation Culture

From artist/music exhibits and speaker series to hackathons and business plan competitions, the Wond’ry hosts workshops, speakers and events that cater to an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.

Upcoming Events:

Grand Opening of the Wond’ry

Come celebrate the grand opening of the newest center on campus.

November 9, 2016
2-5 pm
5-7 pm- invitation only reception


VandyHacks Hackathon

350+ students from universities all over the nation will converge at the Wond’ry to collaborate, code, and develop during this 3 day long hackathon.

November 11-13, 2016


Flash Pitch ’16

Similar to the popular television show Shark Tank, participants will have 90 sec. to present their ideas to a panel of investors and entrepreneurship experts. This event is organized by Vanderbilt’s Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization (CTTC) and will be hosted at the Wond’ry. Finalists will give their 90 sec. pitch on December 1st. The top 3 student pitches will receive prizes including expert mentoring. Click here to submit your entry online.

November 14, 2016
entry deadline
December 1, 2016
pitch day


Meet our Mentors:

Have a question about intellectual property, commercialization, a business or product idea, professional leadership, etc.? Connect with our network of local Nashville entrepreneurs, as well as professionals from other departments around campus during their open office hours on the 3rd floor of the Wond’ry.



Future VU Transportation Working Group

Apply Online– Open to Students, Faculty, & Staff


Want to be a Makerspace Ambassador?

For more information or to apply, email Leslie Auerbach.


Want to design an Art or Music Exhibit for the Wond’ry?

The Wond’ry has several opportunities for student artists to create and display their work. From revolving dry-erase board art to longer-term exhibits, we want to hear your idea! Email Leslie Auerbach for more information.


Interested in applying for PreFlight in Spring 2017?

For more information, email Deanna Meador.



Located at:
2414 Highland Avenue
Nashville, TN 37212

Connect with Us

For additional information on the Wond’ry, including office hours, please visit thewondry.com.


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