Having trouble viewing this email? View as a webpage.

the Wond'ry E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

April 2017

Throughout April, the Wond’ry has been buzzing with innovation and entrepreneurial activity. From helping to host exciting events including the Owen Tech Club’s first ever Tech and Innovation Symposium, the Vanderbilt Leadership Academy’s Graduation Celebration, and the Vanderbilt Alumni Association’s “Opening ‘Dores” entrepreneurship networking dinner, it is clear that the Wond’ry is becoming the nexus for creative collisions on campus.

Serving our external community, the Wond’ry was also pleased this month to provide tours to numerous high school career coaches and counselors from across the country in conjunction with programs supported by the Vanderbilt Office of Undergraduate Admissions. In addition, the Wond’ry also provided tours to several major corporate CEOs and executives from Chick-Fil-A, WiseWear, Visage Mobile, and Draper University in conjunction with events hosted by the Owen Graduate School of Management Distinguished Speakers Series and Vanderbilt University School of Engineering Chambers Lecture. Overall, feedback has been tremendously positive, and seeds are being planted daily for future collaboration opportunities. 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

In addition to hosting events, the Wond’ry proudly announced its first distribution of Micro Grants to support student innovation and entrepreneurial endeavors as part of the prestigious grant that we received from the VentureWell Foundation. These grants will support students as they pursue their dreams and turn them into realities and we look forward to continuing to support these efforts and provide further grant opportunities into the future.
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

Innovation Garage Program Accepting Applications:

The Innovation Garage Program is a partnership between a corporation and the Wond’ry at Vanderbilt. As part of this year-long program, students 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.

This year, two teams of students have been working together to generate solutions to challenges from our inaugural corporate sponsor, Accenture. Team Invent has been working to develop a fresh, new solution in the oil/gas space while Team Disrupt has been building a predictive analytics algorithm to solve complex issues in the aerospace/defense supply chain. Over the course of the project, the students received unparalleled access and weekly mentorship from executives and subject matter experts within Accenture and are getting to see their solutions go from pure ideation all the way to piloting in actual client sites during their internship this summer.

Click here to read more and apply for the 2017-18 cohort. Applications due April 21st.


Upcoming Events:

The Secret Life of Entrepreneurs: A Talk by Ginger Jones

On Tuesday, April 18th, the Wond’ry will host a talk by local entrepreneur Ginger Jones, Founder and CEO of Jones Therapy Services. From being recognized by Inc. 5000 as one of the fastest growing companies in Tennessee to spending time with Sir Richard Branson, she is excited to share her insights about the ups and downs in the secret life of an entrepreneur.

the Wond’ry room 302, 4:30- 5:30 pm


FutureVU Expo

On Wednesday, April 19th, an expo highlighting Vanderbilt’s FutureVU initiative will take place at the Wond’ry. This expo will provide fun opportunities to explore this initiative’s proposed 20-30 year for the future of Vanderbilt’s campus. Come experience campus, past and present, through a 360′ virtual reality experience, see a short film about Vanderbilt’s land use history, look at designs and materials for upcoming building projects, and much more! There will be food, as well as FutureVU t-shirts and other giveaways.

the Wond’ry Spotlight:

Meet Jude Cohen, Innovation Ambassador

I’m Jude, and I’m a senior studying Cross-Cultural Communication and Romance Languages with minors in Corporate Strategy and Italian. I have been incredibly involved with the Wond’ry since its earliest stages. I’ve felt so empowered by our team and the ability to make a difference through Vandy’s new innovation center, and I feel so lucky to have this fantastic resource on campus for my last year of college. My entrepreneurial spirit struck at the early age of 10 years old, when I started a pie business that lasted for the next 7 years, until I went to college. I’m so grateful that Vanderbilt has provided the resources and mentorship to students, faculty, and staff who want to turn their ideas into reality. It has been such a rewarding experience so far, and I can’t wait to see how the Wond’ry develops in the years to come.

Highlights from Recent Events:

Opening ‘Dores Entrepreneurship Dinner

The Wond’ry collaborated with the Vanderbilt Alumni Association on the Entrepreneurship Opening ‘Dores student-alumni networking dinner on April 4. After enjoying tacos from Taco Mamacita, students had the opportunity to speed network with five alumni who have become successful entrepreneurs in Nashville. Alumni guests included:

  • Evan Austill (BS’93, MBA’04), Austill Ventures
  • Jennifer Bennett (BA’08), LunarLincoln
  • Gary Peters (BS’13), Sizzle
  • Avi Spielman (BA’08), Joon Properties
  • Dan Stephenson (BA’03), Dan’s Gourmet Mac & Cheese

The Alumni Association hosts 3-4 Opening ‘Dores dinner events each academic year focusing on a specific industry, such as healthcare, the music business, and marketing. If you would like more information or to participate, reach out to Drew Webb.


PostFlight Micro-Grants Awarded
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.

Participants in this program are eligible to apply for a micro-grant to help move their ideas forward. This money can be used to bring in a technical consultant, buy materials to build a prototype, conduct patent searches, etc. From the applications received for this inaugural cohort, 12 semi-finalists were selected to give a presentation to a panel of local entrepreneurs, executives, and VU staff from the Wond’ry and IMPACT.

Seven of the semi-finalists are being awarded funding and we are excited to see where their ideas go from here!


Tech and Innovation Symposium
On Friday, March 31st, the Owen Tech Club hosted its first ever Technology and Innovation Symposium at the Wond’ry. The morning began with teams presenting in a cross-disciplinary case competition sponsored by Brookdale Senior Living and Lyft and co-hosted by the VMA, Tech Club, and Healthcare Club followed by exciting talks from leaders in the tech and innovation space.


Intro to Programming for Business People

From April 3rd through the 5th, the Wond’ry hosted an introductory coding course, taught by Tech Talent South, designed to teach participants the popular tools, languages, and jargon involved in coding and tech development so they can have more efficient and productive conversations with programmers and better understand “what’s going on under the hood” with the technology in their lives. The course concluded with participants getting first hand coding experience using Ruby on Rails to create a rock, paper, scissors game.


Vanderbilt Leadership Academy Graduation

Vanderbilt Leadership Academy is a nine-month program where nominated high performing leaders in both academic and administrative positions work together to expand their toolkits in areas such as leadership presence, crucial conversations, and understanding their leadership style. The VLA held their graduation session at the Wond’ry on Tuesday, April 11th. This is the sixth cohort to complete the VLA program with now more than 150 alumni.


Chik-Fil-A, WiseWear, Draper University, and Visage Mobile Executives Stop By the Wond’ry
The Wond’ry is generally buzzing with activity and you never know who is going to stop in. Over the past month, the Wond’ry has had the pleasure of hosting the CEO of Chik-Fil-A Dan Cathy, WiseWear’s CEO/Founder Dr. Jerry Wilmink, Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist and Founder of Draper University Tim Draper, and Visage Mobile’s CEO Bzur Haun. These tours and visits were part of events hosted by the Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt Alumni Association, and Vanderbilt University School of Engineering.

In the News:

Rise of Rest: the Wond’ry: Innovation on Campus at Vanderbilt University

Innovation Garage Teams Work with the Wond’ry, Accenture PLC Pros to Invent and Disrupt

Teknovation: Vanderbilt’s the Wond’ry Symbolizes a Very Exciting Philosophy

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:

The Secret Life of Entrepreneurs: A Talk by Ginger Jones
What it looks like at 2 am, what it’s like when you have no money, what to do when you feel unsuccessful, and why it’s still worth pursuing

Tuesday, April 18, 2017
4:30- 5:00 pm
the Wond’ry rm 302


Future VU Expo
Join us for food, prizes, and giveaways during this expo highlighting the Future VU initiative.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
2:30-6 pm
the Wond’ry all 3 floors


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, April 20, 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, April 25, 2017
4 to 5:30 pm
the Wond’ry rm 302



Applications Being Accepted for the Innovation Garage Program

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


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.


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.


Vanderbilt University is committed to principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action.
Vanderbilt®, Vanderbilt University®, V Oak Leaf Design®, Star V Design® and Anchor Down® are trademarks of The Vanderbilt University. ©2024 Vanderbilt University. All rights reserved.