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the Wond'ry E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

August 2017

Welcome back to Vanderbilt! With the start of undergraduate classes on the horizon and students from across the university trickling back to Nashville, we at the Wond’ry wanted to be among the first to tell you how excited we are to see you on campus.

The summer for us has been incredibly eventful! We kicked off the summer by hosting an all-day military entrepreneur networking celebration event with Bunker Labs, a startup incubator that supports military veterans. At this event, the Nashville mayor and two Tennessee gubernatorial candidates were keynote speakers. Later on in the summer, we also saw the Vanderbilt Accelerator program take up temporary residence at the Wond’ry and we helped host the Radx Innovation Challenge, where 17 Vanderbilt-developed, innovative startup healthcare companies competed for grant funding. In between these activities, we hosted numerous tours and activities for both local and national business/governmental organizations, education groups, and individuals who all desired to learn about the innovative activities we have created. All in all, it’s been an exciting time at the Wond’ry.

I am proud to announce a new member to the Wond’ry team, Andrew Maraniss. The New York Times Bestselling author of Strong Inside, Andrew will be our inaugural Innovator in Residence, both helping us further shape the Wond’ry innovation vision and to build inclusive partnerships and collaborations across campus and the community. Andrew is an amazing addition to the team and will be an invaluable resource to the Wond’ry.

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality interest you? If so, you will be happy to learn that the Wond’ry, in partnership with VIDL, is opening an Emerging Technology Lab as part of our expanding Makerspace footprint. From workshops to exhibitions, this lab will introduce you to all the newest technologies and our resulting programs will teach you the skills to become a emerging tech aficionado.

These are just a few of the exciting things happening at the Wond’ry. Come visit us and learn how you can get involved at the epicenter for innovation and entrepreneurship at Vanderbilt.

Innovate Onward!

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

Emerging Tech Lab Coming Soon

Interested in creating, exploring, or experiencing augmented or virtual reality technology? The Wond’ry and VIDL are proud to announce the coming of a new Emerging Tech Lab on the 2nd floor of the Wond’ry. Stop by the Wond’ry for more details!

PreFlight Program- Accepting Applications

The Wond’ry in partnership with the Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization and the Nashville Entrepreneur Center are excited to once again offer a 10-week PreFlight program for aspiring Vanderbilt entrepreneurs. This course will be offered on Wednesday evenings from 4 to 5:15 pm at the Wond’ry.

If you’ve ever dreamed of owning your own business or think entrepreneurship will play a role in your future, this course is for you! Open to Vanderbilt faculty, staff, and students. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance by September 4th and the course will kick off on September 6th. Click here to learn more and apply online.

Wond’ry Ambassador and VU MBA Taneisha Gordon Launches Sukhino Designs

Wond’ry student ambassador, Owen MBA, and PreFlight and PostFlight participant Taneisha Gordon has launched a new company, Sukhino Designs, selling handcrafted laser cut goods. “Sukhino Designs started with one goal in mind: to provide a sense of freedom and happiness. The word sukhino is derived from the Hindi language and means centered in happiness and joy and free from suffering. Sukhino Designs is providing a sense of freedom and happiness for me and strives to provide that same type of freedom for other individuals, businesses, organizations, and so on.”- Taneisha Gordon

the Wond’ry Spotlight:

Meet Andrew Maraniss, Innovator in Residence

Hi, everyone, I’m Andrew Maraniss, the Innovator in Residence at the Wond’ry this year. I’m thrilled to be a part of the action at this amazing space. As a Vanderbilt alum (history major and sports editor of The Hustler) and the author of STRONG INSIDE, the Commons Reading each of the last two years, I’m enjoying this new connection to a university that has meant so much to my life. Prior to becoming an author, I worked for more than 20 years in the public relations profession, with a large agency here in Nashville and with a Major League Baseball team. One of the things I’m looking forward to most in my role at the Wond’ry is to help spread the word around campus that this place is for everyone! Creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurial thinking aren’t the sole domain of any particular type of person; members of the Vanderbilt community from all backgrounds and disciplines should feel welcome and inspired here. I look forward to helping bring together a diverse group of students, faculty and staff to challenge any preconceptions about what an innovation center can be.

New Exhibits at the Wond’ry


Vanderbilt University rising seniors Josh Forges (neuroscience and art) and Jay Cavenaugh (industrial design and engineering management) teamed up this summer to create a one-of-a-kind focal piece for the first floor of the Wond’ry.

“We wanted to select a medium that was new to both of us so that we could blend our working styles. In contrast with other art mediums, string art is forgiving of mistakes. The ability to make mistakes freely allowed for us to experiment and ultimately arrive at a better, more developed end result. A blend of structure and creativity, string art allowed us to create in a hands on way that drew on our backgrounds in art and engineering. Although the sculpture looks tedious to construct, we found that creating it was a therapeutic process which improved our day to day living.” – Jay and Josh


Digital Privacy

Do you shut your shades before changing? How would you feel if the police listened to your phone calls without a warrant? What if a screen displayed your live Internet activity for all to see? We recoil at such overt invasions, but often spend little time considering our privacy online. Visiting student researcher, Jared Moore, from the University of Washington School of Computer Science explores and informs our understanding of digital privacy in his installation at the Wond’ry. Vanderbilt student Mary Dockery designed and built the display case for this unique and thought-provoking exhibit.

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 a 10-week PreFlight 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:

How to Optimize Google with Rahn Huber
Learn tips and tricks to optimize your search and find relevant information more quickly.

Monday, September 11, 2017
12:20-12:50 pm
the Wond’ry 3rd floor


Authentic Innovative Networking with Blake Hogan
Networking does not need to be cheesy or transactional. Learn strategies to develop meaningful relationships and how authentic dot connecting can propel you forward.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
4-5:15 pm
the Wond’ry 3rd floor


Hand Sewing Workshop with Alex Sargent
Learn hand sewing techniques in this hands-on workshop led by Vanderbilt Theatre Department’s Alex Sargent.

Thursday, September 14, 2017
3-6 pm
the Wond’ry rm 202


VUARC Kit Building Workshop with Tim Holman
Want to engage with our electronics makerspace, but not quite sure how? Join Tim Holman for a kit building workshop. Appropriate for all skill levels.

Friday, September 15, 2017
3-5 pm
the Wond’ry 2nd floor Electronic Makerspace


Ask Me Anything with Andrew Goldner
Andrew is a founding partner of GrowthX, which operates GrowthX capital (a seed stage venture capital fund). Andrew has worked in the technology sector for over 20 years and started his career as an attorney for companies such as Yahoo and Salesforce.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017
4-5:15 pm
the Wond’ry 3rd floor


VUARC Kit Building Workshop with Tim Holman
Want to engage with our electronics makerspace, but not quite sure how? Join Tim Holman for a kit building workshop. Appropriate for all skill levels.

Friday, September 22, 2017
3-5 pm
the Wond’ry 2nd floor Electronic Makerspace


The Value of Quality with Jon Robinson
Having worked with organizations like HomeAdvisor, ScrippsNetworks, and Victoria’s Secret in the past, Jon has battle-tested his sometimes unique approach to QA in some incredibly demanding environments.

Monday, September 25, 2017
4-5:15 pm
the Wond’ry 3rd floor


Vacuum Forming with our Wond’ry Makerspace Mentor
Learn to use a vacuum former to quickly develop prototypes, molds for casting, and much more.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017
5-6 pm
the Wond’ry 2nd floor Makerspace


Design Sketching with Evan Reese
Discover techniques to take your ideas from brain to physical/digital sketch.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017
5-6 pm
the Wond’ry rm 202


Nashville Mini Maker Faire

Maker Faire is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. From engineers to artists to scientists to crafters, Maker Faire is a venue for these “makers” to show hobbies, experiments, projects. We call it the Greatest Show (& Tell) on Earth- a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness.

Saturday, September 30 and Sunday, October 1, 2017
9-5 pm
the Wond’ry, Engineering and Science Building, and Garland Ave.



Want to Become a Library Fellow?

The Vanderbilt Library is currently seeking undergraduates students to serve as fellows for the fall semester. Fellows receive $500 to attend seminar classes and develop a project. Applications accepted until September 15, 2017.


Apply for the 2017 Reimagine Education Student Awards

Do you have a groundbreaking idea for the world of education? Applications are being accepted for the 2017 Reimagine Education Student Awards. A total of 16 awards will be given in areas ranging from the best use of AR/VR technology to transform learning to the most innovative pedagogies to enhance student learning and employability.


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 and business experts, 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
Suite 102
Nashville, TN 37212

Connect with Us

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


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