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the Wond'ry E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

March 2017

March has been a fabulous month for innovation and entrepreneurial activity at the Wond’ry. From presenting at IDEAcon 2017 and then hosting a business plan competition at the Wond’ry for the Nashville community as part of the inaugural Nashville Startup Week, it is clear that we are becoming an integral part of the local innovation and entrepreneurial endeavors.

But it’s not just regionally that our Vanderbilt students are making an impact. In fact, three teams as part of the Hult Prize business plan competition 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
traveled to Dubai, London, and Boston this past month to present their innovative ideas on solving the international refugee crisis. Prepped by @HultPrize, Turner Family Center, and the Wond’ry, these teams performed incredibly well and the Vanderbilt team that competed in Dubai, HydroHaven, reached the final 6 out of hundreds of other teams from around the globe.

On campus, the Wond’ry has also been quite busy. This past month we launched our new PostFlight program, led several Makerspace workshops including “Fashionable Sewing Fundamentals,” and kicked off the RadX Innovation Challenge to identify transformative healthcare solutions.

We welcome you to come tour the Wond’ry at any time and to get involved in all aspects of innovation. Visit our website, at www.theWondry.com and  follow us on social media @theWondry for current events and happenings. We look forward to connecting with you soon.

Innovate Onward!

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

New ‘Maker’ Course Starts Fall ’17:

Beginning this fall, Kevin Galloway, Director of Making, will teach a new maker for-credit course at the Wond’ry. This hands-on course will help you learn to make things with hand and digital fabrication tools in order to quickly test ideas, communicate concepts to colleagues and solve problems. You will learn to generate digital designs and then turn those designs into physical prototypes, as well as explore how to integrate sensors and motors into your designs. Open to rising sophomores and juniors.

Call for Art Exhibits

We are currently looking for members of the Vanderbilt community that would like to create a unique art exhibit for display inside the Wond’ry. Proposals for interactive exhibits using technology in cool, innovative ways will be given top priority and those selected will receive funding to assist with bringing the project to life. Proposals can be submitted via email to Wondry@vanderbilt.edu.

the Wond’ry Spotlight:

Meet Deanna Meador, Program Manager

My background is in education and educational psychology. I joined the Wond’ry team in August of 2016 and prior to that I worked with the Peabody Research Institute (PRI) at Vanderbilt since 2009. During my time at PRI, I developed a paperless data collection system for collecting observation and assessment data in the field. This system has been featured in multiple articles and colloquia, including the Institute of Education Science’s showcase, “Using Technology in Research” and took me down a path that led to being honored as MTSU’s Young Alumni Achievement Award Recipient. I started my entrepreneur journey when I founded my first company with my husband in 2007 and likely would have started even sooner if I had a place like the Wond’ry. I am so excited to be a part of the inaugural team and hope you’ll come visit me as you bring your ideas from concept to realization.

Highlights from Recent Events:

RadX Innovation Challenge
The VU Department of Radiology kicked off its RadX Innovation Challenge, co-sponsored by the Wond’ry and CTTC, on February 16th. RadX is a healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship incubator within the Dept. of Radiology and this inaugural innovation challenge has teams working from February to June to create a commercially viable solution to an unmet need in healthcare. Teams will pitch their ideas to a panel of judges and a live audience and the two winning teams will each receive $10,000 to continue their project.

The Wond’ry’s inaugural PostFlight cohort kicked off on March 2nd. PostFlight is a 9 week course taught by the Wond’ry’s Mentors-in-Residence that provides a step-by-step guide for actually launching a venture. Session topics include:

  • Intellectual Property
  • Leadership
  • Business Development and Sales
  • Fundraising
  • And Much More!

Sessions are open to the entire VU community and take place from 5 to 6:15 in the Wond’ry every Thursday through April 27th.



Fashionable Sewing Fundamentals
On February 22nd, the Wond’ry hosted a Sewing Fundamentals workshop taught by Alexandra Sargent Capps (VU Theatre) and Crickett Harmer (School of Nursing). This workshop provided Vanderbilt faculty, staff, and students a chance to learn the fundamentals of hand and machine sewing- a valuable prototyping and life skill, as well as a chance to participate in the ‘A Heart to Hold’ Project. A Heart to Hold provides children with a fabric heart to hold onto while receiving chemotherapy treatments.



On March 12th, the Wond’ry’s Robert Grajewski presented at Ideacon 2017 on ‘The Importance of University Innovation Centers’. IDEAcon is a conference geared towards inventors and entrepreneurs with a goal of providing the skills needed to take ideas from paper napkin to profit.


Nashville Startup Week Pitch Competition
The Wond’ry will also host the final pitch competition of Nashville Startup Week tomorrow, March 16th from 7-9 pm. Winners of the pitch competition win an invitation to the invite only Founders & Funders Poker event and get feedback about their idea from local venture capitalists and angel investors.


VandyHacks Hack Night with Home Depot
VandyHacks recently co-hosted a Hack Night with The Home Depot – a 5 hour coding event where students bring their ideas to life. Overall, 54 students attended, and 7 projects were submitted. In first place, Eric Zhuang’s Tweet Tone Analyzer won an Amazon Echo Dot. In second place, Davis Zhang’s PaintColors, winning a Raspberry Pi 3. In third place, Travel-Tracker, created by John Valin, Nash Zhou, and Ben Cooper, won Rocketbook Waves.


Opening Bell
The Owen Graduate School of Management hosted its Opening Bell at the Wond’ry on February 24th. The featured speakers and Vanderbilt alums Arlie Haddix and Austin Martin created GPS 911 while in school at Owen. GPS 911 uses an innovative bulletproof vest designs that can track the location of the wearer and send information about the wearer’s injury status to help protect police officers and first responders.


Faculty Networking and Digital Salon
This month, the Wond’ry kicked off two new events geared towards Vanderbilt faculty and staff. Every Thursday from 4-6 pm through the end of the semester, the Wond’ry is hosting a Faculty Networking Event. Join us in room 104 for food and great conversation with people from all across campus.

The second event is a Digital Salon. This salon-style lecture, reception, and networking event showcases a new project in digital scholarship during each session. Held every other week on Tuesdays from 4 to 5:30 pm in room 302 through the end of April. The next session will take place on March 28th and will feature Rogers Hall from Teaching and Learning.

Inaugural Digital Salon featuring Jonathan Gilligan


Visit from the Swiss Consul General
On Thursday, February 23rd, the Wond’ry was honored to give a tour to the Swiss Consul General Andreas M. Maager.

In the News:

Student Project Team Develops App for Legal Aid

-Go Baby Go Improves the Lives of Young Children

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 and PostFlight

For aspiring Vanderbilt entrepreneurs, the Wond’ry offers an 11 week Pre-Flight program that provides the foundational knowledge needed to successfully identify and assess ideas for a quality for profit or non-profit venture. PostFlight is a 9 week program aimed at aspiring entrepreneurs that have already completed customer discovery and market validation and are ready to learn the steps needed to launch a 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:

To view past versions of News from the Wond’ry, please visit our website:


Upcoming Events:

Why Entrepreneurs Should Learn to Code
This intro to coding course focuses on four reasons learning to code can help you in the here and now, as well as in future ventures. No coding experience necessary. Taught by Tech Talent South.

Thursday, March 16, 2017
5- 7:00pm
the Wond’ry rm 302


Introductory CAD and 3D Printing Workshop
Join us to learn the 3D design concepts with TinkerCAD and 3D printing. Leave with your own unique, 3D printed part.

Thursday, March 16, 2017
4-6 pm
the Wond’ry rm 104


Crossing Disciplines Through Design
Led by Deniz Alpay, a Design for America National Fellow

Friday, March 17, 2017
3:30-4:30 pm
the Wond’ry rm 202


Life Hacks to Automate Your Life and Release Your Inner Innovator
Led by Dave Seeman from Fractal Hardware- Learn IFTTT, Zapier, Gsuite, and other cool tools and tricks.

Monday, March 20, 2017
4-6 pm
the Wond’ry rm 302


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


Arduino Basics
Taught by Mitch Meiss- Learn the basics of Arduino.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
4-6 pm
the Wond’ry rm 104


Panel Discussion with Tivon Rice
As part of the Places and Spaces: Mapping Science Exhibit, Tivon Rice will talk about the artistic, scientific, and political impact of drone technology followed by a panel featuring Lutz Koepnick, Vesna Pavlovic, and Steven Wernke.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
5-6:30 pm
the Wond’ry rm 104


Vanderbilt Faculty Mixer
Every Thursday through the end of the semester, the Wond’ry will be hosting a Faculty Mixer. Come join us for this fun networking event!

Thursday, March 22, 2017
4-6 pm
the Wond’ry rm 104


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.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017
4 to 5:30 pm
the Wond’ry rm 302


Owen Tech Club Innovation Symposium
This multiple day event from the Owen Tech Club and sponsored by Lyft and Brookdale Senior Living Solutions will feature a case competition, speakers, and networking. Open to VU graduate students only.

March 29-31, 2017
Case Competition to be held at the Wond’ry on March 31st
the Wond’ry 3rd floor


VINES 48 Hour Launch Event
This weekend long program is a great opportunity to turn your business idea into action as you go through the business planning process through mini-lectures and individual mentoring.
Must apply and be accepted to participate.

April 1-2, 2017


Intro to Programming for Business People
This class is for entrepreneurs and business people who want to understand what is going on ‘under the hood’ with their business technology. In this intensive class, you’ll be armed with the terminology and know how to comfortably talk the talk and no longer feel left in the dark when it comes to computer programming. Only 20 spots available. Must attend all 3 sessions. Register here.

April 3-5th, 2017
5-8 pm
the Wond’ry rm 104


Tom Sosnoff: Running with Risk and Opportunity
This lecture sponsored by Alpha Kappa PSI and the Wond’ry features Tom Sosnoff, a recognized online brokerage innovator and social entrepreneur.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017
5:30 pm
ESB rm 044



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.


Micro-grants Available for PostFlight Participants

Registered PostFlight participants are eligible to apply for additional mentoring and micro-grants, sponsored by VentureWell. If you are a registered PostFlight participant and you want to apply for a micro-grant, click here (applications due March 20th).


Applications Being Accepted for the Innovation Garage Program

The Innovation Garage Program is a partnership between a corporation and the Wond’ry at Vanderbilt. As part of this year-long program, you will gain college credit while at the same time developing real-world problem solving skills during an immersive, hands-on experience with industry experts from a leading global company.

We are currently accepting applications for the 2017-18 academic year. The corporate partner will be Accenture. Click here to apply.


Tim Draper speaking at the Wond’ry- Apply to Attend

On April 6th, Tim Draper, Venture capital investor & Founder of Draper Fisher Jurvetson (DFJ), will be giving an invitation only talk at the Wond’ry from 12:15-1 pm. A small group of students will be invited to attend. If you would like to be considered, please send an email to Wondry@vanderbilt.edu.


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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