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the Wond'ry E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

December 2016

In reflecting back on the incredible year that we have had thus far, I first and foremost want to thank everyone who has helped make the Wond’ry such a success. From the faculty and administration to the Wond’ry staff, student ambassadors, and innovation mentors, this total team effort in launching the Wond’ry has been immense and your time, energy, and dedication is unsurpassed.

With great effort and persistence often comes great success, and this axiom proves itself again at the Wond’ry. From our Grand Opening Celebration that garnered over 1,000 visitors to the 7,500+ people who have come to our Center since our soft opening in September, it is clear that the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit is vibrant at Vanderbilt University and we are becoming the epicenter to serve these needs.

Now that we are fully functional and our four pillar programs are fully operational, the Wond’ry is preparing itself to scale to its next phase of growth while concurrently continuing to outreach to all members of our community who are interested in innovating, collaborating, making, and creating.

Below we highlight some of the numerous activities that we have undertaken in 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; VUthe last month but most importantly, I invite and welcome you to visit the Wond’ry to see our programs and workshops in action.

Happy Holidays and Innovate Onward!

-Robert Grajewski
Evans Family Executive Director of the Wond’ry

Grand Opening Recap:

On November 9th, over 1,000 guests filled the Wond’ry to celebrate the grand opening and show their support and excitement for our mission to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as strengthen the “maker” culture across all 10 colleges at Vanderbilt. We were energized by the enthusiasm and can’t wait to see what this inaugural year holds.
Click here to view photos and video footage from the event.




Highlights from Recent Events:


Pictured left to right: Tyler Bernstein (3rd place),
John Mendoza (1st place) and Claire Deaver (2nd place)


On December 1st, the Wond’ry hosted its first ever pitch competition, FlashPitch. Sponsored by Vanderbilt University’s Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization (CTTC), student teams applied for the chance to give a 90 sec. pitch to a panel of investors and entrepreneurs. Students giving the winning pitches won prizes and will receive additional mentoring and support from CTTC to further develop their ideas.



On December 7th, the Wond’ry concluded its inaugural Entrepreneurial PreFlight course with a final session conducted by CTTC and a reception sponsored by PYA and Waller, Lansden, Dortch, and Davis, LLP. The Wond’ry received overwhelmingly positive feedback from course participants and plans to offer another session of PreFlight during the spring semester. The duration of the course will likely be extended and the individual session times shortened. Watch our social media and website for announcements about the PreFlight application process. This course is provided at no charge to Vanderbilt faculty, staff, and students.


FutureVU Transportation Working Group Sessions

On December 9th, the Wond’ry in collaboration with Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain held initial meetings of the FutureVU Transportation Executive and Faculty Working Groups. These working groups are an integral piece of the Chancellor’s Campus Land Use Initiative and will work to develop potential solutions to some of the campus’ most pressing parking and traffic issues. A few of the topics under consideration for the groups to examine is MTA/RTA adjustments, Vanderbilt shuttle opportunities, expansion of UBER and LYFT on campus, better biking infrastructure, etc. Participation in these working groups was open to all Vanderbilt faculty, staff, and students and the Wond’ry received over 90 applications.


Design Fair

On December 9th, the students in Professor Dave Owens’ New Product Design Course showcased their inventions designed to address areas of need from the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital during a design fair on the 2nd floor of the Wond’ry. The prototypes featured during this fair were created in one of the Wond’ry’s Makerspaces.

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.

Past Versions of News from the Wond’ry:

November 2016

Upcoming Events:

Future VU Kickoff Event
This event will be the first full meeting of the 90+ participants working on the FutureVU Transportation Initiative.

Friday, January 13, 2017
11-1 pm
the Wond’ry room TBA



Mezoscope Presentation and Demo
Come see a technology presentation from Abemis, demo their new Mezoscope automated scanning microscopy system, and talk with the developers.

Friday, January 20, 2017
1 pm
the Wond’ry room 104


Places & Spaces: Mapping Science Exhibit
Come see this interactive traveling exhibition on data visualization organized by Dr. Katy Börner and sponsored by the Vanderbilt Library and Vice Provost’s office. The exhibition, on display at Vanderbilt January 23 to April 23, contains 100 maps/visualizations of data (to be housed at Sarratt), an Illuminated Diagram (housed at the Wond’ry) and a Macroscope and WorldProcessor Globes (housed at Central Library’s Lobby). A number of programs will complement the exhibition, including a lecture by Dr. Börner, a student competition, panel discussion, and data visualization workshops. The exhibition and programs are funded by the Wild Bunch Lecture Fund.

Friday, January 23, 2017
the Wond’ry second floor


VINES Kickoff Event
The Vanderbilt Innovation and Entrepreneurship Society kickoff event. This event is opened to all undergraduate students interested in joining VINES.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017
5:30 pm
ESB 044/48


Global Student Entrepreneur Awards
EO GSEA’s mission is to give young entrepreneurs around the world the opportunity to accelerate their success and connect with an instrumental peer group. Competitors must be undergraduate students with a business that has been operational for at least six months and has generated US$500 in revenue, or received US$1000 in investments. Interested students may apply through the EO GSEA website.

Friday, January 27, 2017
3-6 pm
the Wond’ry second level common space
deadline for entries is January 13, 2017


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.



Want to be a Wond’ry Ambassador?
For more information or to apply online, please visit our website.

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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