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the Wond'ry E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

February 2017

As Vanderbilt’s campus begins to transition from winter into spring, the Wond’ry is already alive and blooming. With over 11,000+ visitors since our Grand Opening and over 30+ workshops scheduled for the spring semester alone, the Wond’ry is an exciting place that is always buzzing with activity. This month, I am honored and humbled to announce that the Wond’ry has been awarded a prestigious $30,000 grant from the VentureWell Foundation, one of the preeminent and leading non-profit organizations supporting science and technology innovators. 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
Moreover, our Program Manager Deanna Meador and I have been asked to provide a presentation on The Importance of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centers at Universities at their annual conference in March! This should be a great opportunity to meet fellow University and Corporate Innovation Leaders while also helping further spread awareness on the innovative ways the Wond’ry is transforming university education.

For those who really want to roll up their sleeves and learn how to “make,” I am also proud to announce that our Makerspaces are now open for business. No matter if you’re an Expert or a Beginner, working on a class project or an individual endeavor, or simply just want to learn how to use a 3D printer or a power tool, our shop is for you. Just sign up for a safety certification course or come by the Wond’ry, and in no time you will be on your way to creating innovative prototypes and learning new skills.

From programs and workshops to speakers and mentors, the Wond’ry is rolling into spring with great momentum. We encourage you to come by our Center to explore, make, tinker, and create. We are here to serve you.

Innovate Onward!

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

Faculty Grant from VentureWell Awarded to Support New PostFlight Program:

Beginning next week, the Wond’ry will launch a new program designed to complement our popular PreFlight Program.

PostFlight is a 9 week course taught by the Wond’ry’s Mentors-in-Residence that provides a step-by-step guide for aspiring Vanderbilt entrepreneurs with a viable early stage idea to actually launch a venture. It is the perfect next step for graduates of PreFlight, entrepreneurs with a validated and market-ready product or technology, and/or those that would like to learn the nuts and bolts of starting a venture. Participants can choose to attend only specific sessions that are of interest to them or the entire 9 week program. For select participants that attend the entire 9 week program and submit a funding application, micro-grants of up to $2,900 will be available to support the creation of a pitch deck, technical consultants, continued prototyping, etc. Click here to apply online.

PostFlight will take place at the Wond’ry every Thursday from 5 to 6:15 pm between February 23rd and April 27th (no session during the week of Spring Break).

Visit VentureWell to learn more about this award.

A Full Schedule of Exciting Workshops

The Wond’ry staff and Director of Making want the Wond’ry Makerspaces to be accessible to everyone in the VU community (faculty, staff, and students) to be able to take their ideas from concept to prototype. In order to gain access to the Wond’ry Makerspaces, visit our website to sign up for the 1 hr safety seminar (offered Monday through Thursday) and then be sure to come back often to take advantage of a full array of interesting workshops we have lined up for this semester, including:

  • Design Sketching
  • Arduino Basics
  • Fashionable Sewing Fundamentals
  • Foam Core Modeling
  • How to Make a Box
  • Vacuum Forming, and much more


the Wond’ry Spotlight:

Meet Taneisha Gordon, Marketing Intern

I have always been an entrepreneur at heart. From selling blow pops and old Halloween candy to my 4th grade classmates and making $5 within an hour to starting a makeup and custom accessory business in undergrad and making $1500 within a week. I have always loved the feeling of selling something people want and love- plus making money was always nice too. I studied architecture at Tuskegee University and now I am here at Vanderbilt obtaining my MBA with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. My end goal is to create a successful and innovative business that will help change the world. While at the Wond’ry, I contribute my skills, creativeness, and knowledge to continuously help build the program while at the same time building my skills in marketing and planning. I am excited to be a part of the Wond’ry and see how it expands and grows.

Highlights from Recent Events:

The Wond’ry hosted a class of high school juniors from the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt for a prototyping workshop on February 2nd.


On February 6th and 8th, the Wond’ry hosted a 2 part workshop exploring the emotional, psychological, and physical ups and downs of being an entrepreneur with Avi Spielman, Austin Dirks, and Ben Hindman (not pictured).

Hult Prize Update:

Three Vanderbilt teams are heading to Boston, Dubai, and London for the next round of competition. The Turner Family Center@HultPrize, and the Wond’ry wish the teams all the best!

In the News:

Innovating at the Wond’ry

Vanderbilt’s Wond’ry receives grant to bolster entrepreneur education program

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 PreFlight

For aspiring Vanderbilt entrepreneurs, the Wond’ry offers an 11 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

December 2016

January 2017

Upcoming Events:

VandyHacks Hack Night

VandyHacks and Home Depot are hosting an exciting evening of creativity and hacking, where Vandy students can turn their ideas into reality.

Thursday, February 16, 2017
5-11 pm
the Wond’ry 3rd Floor


Design Sketching
Taught by Evan Reese with Fractal Hardware

Wednesday, February 15, 2017
4-6 pm
the Wond’ry room 104


VUARC Electrical Engineering Kit Building
Join us for a kit building workshop taught by Dr. Tim Holman.

Friday, February 17, 2017
1-5 pm
the Wond’ry Electrical Makerspace room 212


The Digital Salon: Discussing New Digital Scholarship on Campus and Beyond
This series sponsored by the Wond’ry, the Center for Digital Humanities, and the Library will feature a lecture followed by a reception and networking opportunity. VU faculty and staff only.

Thursday, February 21, 2017
4 to 5:30 pm
the Wond’ry room 302


Fashionable Sewing Fundamentals
Drop in anytime during the session to learn the basics or stay for the entire duration and take home a wearable.
Presented by Alexandra Sargent Capps (VU Theatre) and Crickett Harmer (School of Nursing)
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
3-6 pm
the Wond’ry Makerspace room 201


Women Handling Business: Makers, Mentors, & Muses Redefine Innovation and Entrepreneurship

A panel discussion for undergraduates designed to broaden and expand the conversation surrounding innovation to include humanities and creative-oriented disciplines. Co-sponsored by the Career Center, the Wond’ry, VU Women in Business, and the Assoc. Provost for Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships

Tuesday, March 21, 2017
4-5:30 pm
the Wond’ry 3rd Floor



The Big Pitch Competition 2017
Currently seeking undergraduate and graduate innovations that improve economics, health, and the environment (fitting under the theme of sustainability). Cash award of $10,000 to the winning team/individual. Vanderbilt students encouraged to apply.
Visit their website for more information or to register.


Want to work at the Wond’ry?

The Wond’ry is currently looking for 1-2 graduate students with experience and interest in event planning, setup, and execution to join our team (up to 20 hrs per wk). Send your resume to thewondry@vanderbilt.edu to apply.


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.


VU Innovation Highlights:

Take a look at this video from Vanderbilt’s Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization highlighting VU innovations developed in 2016.


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.


Stay Connected:

For the most up-to-date information, event reminders, and opportunities, connect with us on social media (@theWondry, the Wondry).


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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