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the Wond'ry E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

September 2017

With the fall semester kicking into high gear, the Wond’ry is bustling with activity! With our 4 Pillar Programs now fully underway and over 40+ additional innovation and entrepreneurial workshops and seminars scheduled over the next three months, the Wond’ry is buzzing with creative collisions and innovation activities.

Most exciting, the Wond’ry is proud to announce that this past month we have added our newest team member, Dominique Pryor-Anderson. An expert in PR and Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, Dominique brings an abundance of experience and connections throughout Nashville and Middle Tennessee. We are excited to have her on the team as she focuses on further developing both on-campus and external collaborations and partnerships.

Also this past month, the Wond’ry in partnership with the Vanderbilt Institute of Surgery and Engineering was awarded the prestigious National Science Foundation $500,000 I-Corps Grant to support and stimulate STEM-related entrepreneurial endeavors. One of 86 universities to ever receive this award and the first time in Vanderbilt’s history that it has been a recipient, the grant will help provide additional mentorship, entrepreneurial training, and non-dilutive grant funding to aspiring entrepreneurs amongst our students, faculty, and staff across all of campus. Truly trans-institutional, all VU members are welcomed to participate in the I-Corps and become eligible for funding. Please visit the Wond’ry and speak with our team to learn how you can apply and participate in the academic courses and/or extracurricular programs related to this grant.

It is an exciting time for innovation and entrepreneurship at Vanderbilt. Come visit the Wond’ry to learn how you can get involved. We are here to serve you!

Innovate Onward!

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

$500K NSF Grant Award

The Wond’ry, in collaboration with the Vanderbilt Institute in Surgery and Engineering, recently won a five-year, $500,000 National Science Foundation grant to become an Innovation Corps site.

The designation marks Vanderbilt as one of the premier academic institutions nationwide that nurture entrepreneurship. The I-Corps site grant will support programs to match students and faculty with teams of experienced professionals who can teach, guide and mentor them as they pursue startup endeavors.

There are 86 I-Corps sites at universities across the nation. Participation opens the doors to additional funding through the federal Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs, which support research, development and commercialization of cutting-edge technological advances by giving applicants access to a total of $2.5 billion annually.

New Exhibit Translates Scientific Discoveries into Art Celebrating Vanderbilt’s Nobel Prize Laureates

A new exhibit, “Vanderbilt’s Nobel Laureates: A Visual Tribute to Discovery and Innovation”, has been installed on the 2nd floor of the Wond’ry. This exhibit, designed by Vanderbilt University staff member Robert R. Lavieri, was created to showcase and honor the discoveries of Vanderbilt’s six Nobel Prize Laureates in a way that the artist hopes will “cause people to slow down, stop, take a breath and think”.

Want to connect with the artist and further explore these pieces? The Wond’ry will host a “Conversation with Robert Lavieri” on October 25th from 5:30 to 6:30 pm on the 2nd floor of the Wond’ry.


CEO/CTO Meetups

Beginning on Tuesday, October 3rd, the Wond’ry will host CEO/CTO Meetups twice a month from 6-7 pm in room 202. Where strategists meet techies. Come meet fellow aspiring entrepreneurs from all across campus and the community to casually discuss your company ideas and aspirations. Perhaps you’ll find your next Co-Founder!  Food will be served.

Nashville Mini Maker Faire this Weekend

Maker Faire is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and love sharing what they do. The Nashville Maker Faire, which will take place Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 30th-Oct 1st from 9am-5pm at the Wond’ry/ Engineering Science Building, is a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Movement. It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning. We have over 120 makers exhibiting that range from tech enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to researchers to garage tinkerers. The aim of Maker Faire is to entertain, inform, connect and grow this community. Admission and parking are free. The event will take place along Garland Avenue and inside the Wond’ry/Engineering Science Building located at 2414 Highland Avenue. Parking is available in the 25th Avenue Staff Garage also located on Highland Avenue.

the Wond’ry Spotlight:

Meet Dominique Anderson- Diversity and Inclusion Specialist, Program Coordinator

Hi, everyone, I’m Dominique Anderson. I am a proud Nashville native and passionate Specialist in Diversity and Inclusion, who is well versed in diverse entrepreneurship, especially within the tech and STEM fields. I have also had success as a publicist, specializing in media relations, crisis management and communications, social media, and Hispanic lifestyle consulting.

After receiving my BA in Spanish from the University of Tennessee-Martin, I moved to Memphis, TN, where I built a successful multicultural public relations and marketing career, earned a Masters of Education in Secondary Spanish Education from Christian Brothers University, and certification in Public Relations from the University of Memphis. I developed a trademark eclectic outlook, throughout my childhood in Nashville, TN, and multicultural family. I am also a fluent Spanish speaker.

When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my husband and daughter, as well as other family, friends, and pursuing philanthropic efforts through Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., the Nashville Hispanic Chamber, and other charitable organizations.

In the News:

Highlights from Recent Events:

On September 19th, Wond’ry mentor and partner at GrowthX Andrew Goldner led an engaging discussion session on ‘all things venture capital’. If you were unable to attend and would like to catch up with Andrew, visit him during his open office hours from 2-4:30 every third Wednesday on the 3rd floor of the Wond’ry.

On September 23rd and 24th, BTC Media, Accenture, Qtum, the Wond’ry, and Better Doctor sponsored a Blockchain Hackathon hosted at the Wond’ry. Eleven teams from Vanderbilt and around the country competed and were judged based on their use of blockchain technology, market readiness, implementation and technical quality, and presentation. The winning team was from the Blockchain Education Network (BEN).

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:

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


Designing Robots for the Future
Attend the Chambers Family Entrepreneurial Lectureship featuring Professor and Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Endowed Chair Ayanna Howard from the Georgia Institute of Technology as she explores this interesting topic!

Monday, September 25, 2017
4:10 pm
Jacobs Believed in Me Auditorium/FGH 134
reception in Adams Atrium beginning at 3:30 pm


Vacuum Forming Workshop
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


Business Development and Sales Session
Connect with the Wond’ry’s mentors for an overview of business development strategy. Topics will include how to align a sales strategy for your business and learning the best strategies for closing a deal.

Thursday, September 28, 2017
4-5:15 pm
the Wond’ry 3rd floor


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.


CEO/CTO Meetups
Meet fellow aspiring entrepreneurs and techies from across campus and the Nashville community

Tuesday, October 3, 2017
6-7 pm
the Wond’ry room 202


Intro to 3D Computer-Aided Design (AutoCAD)
Hosted by Director of Making, Kevin Galloway. Learn to use AutoCAD to develop 3D renderings of your designs.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017
4-5:30 pm
the Wond’ry 2nd floor Makerspace


Faculty Mixer
Meet your colleagues from across campus during this fun, informal mixer. VU Faculty and Staff only. Light food and drinks will be served.

Thursdays, beginning October 5th
4-5:15 pm
the Wond’ry 1st floor


Foam Core Modeling
Foam is a ridiculously useful material. This course teaches techniques that professional designers use to make visual and functional prototypes.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017
4-5:30 pm
the Wond’ry 2nd floor Makerspace


Benefits of Brand Ambassadors
With proper brand ambassador program strategy and training, social enterprises and small startups can scale their business and increase their market reach. Join Yolanda Shields for some strategies and tips.

Monday, October 16, 2017
12-1 pm
the Wond’ry 3rd floor


Music Entrepreneurship Workshop
Wond’ry mentors Jeremy and Jason Burchard will start with a brief overview of the status of the music industry in 2017 and some of the most important roles in an artist’s career. From there, they’ll use workshop participants to do an actual strategy session.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
4-5 pm
the Wond’ry 3rd floor



LaunchTN Internship

LaunchTN is offering a unique 14-week internship program with Tennessee-based startups and entrepreneur centers. In addition to hands-on experience where students will learn entrepreneurship from some of the best in the state, LaunchTN will provide valuable networking opportunities. Applications due February 19, 2018. Click here to learn more about this internship program.


Lemelson-MIT Student Prize Competition

The Lemelson-MIT Student Prize honors promising graduate students and teams of undergraduates around the country who have technology-based inventions in healthcare, transportation, food/water and agriculture, and consumer devices. Prize is $15,000 for graduate students and $10,000 to undergraduate teams. Apply by September 29, 2017


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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