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the Wond'ry E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

January 2018

Welcome back to campus and let me be one of the first to wish you a happy and innovative new spring semester and new year!  Despite the weather in Nashville dipping into the single digits and snow covering the ground, the Wond’ry is buzzing with activity as innovation and entrepreneurial activities abound!

In January alone, the Wond’ry is excited to announce that we are partnering with Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM) to host its first VU hackathon on January 19-21st, where participants from across our community will come together to design, create, and build innovative prosthetics and assistive technologies in an effort to help improve mobility and accessibility. Later this month, the Wond’ry in partnership with NashGameDev is hosting the second annual Global Game Jam video game creation event, where video game designers from across the United States will come to the Wond’ry to partner with Vanderbilt faculty, staff, and students to create interactive video games across all platforms from traditional gaming consoles to Virtual Reality devices.

Also this month, we are excited to announce the launch of the Wond’ry “Heritage Months” series, where the Wond’ry will highlight various innovators, change makers, and thought leaders from across a wide array of disciplines and perspectives. By highlighting their stories, our goal is to further inspire you to develop innovative solutions that improve our world.

Desiring to launch a social venture or new enterprise? We are excited to announce that the Wond’ry in February will be launching its spring cohort of its PreLaunch and PostLaunch pillar programs. Stay tuned to our website for directions on when to apply.

We welcome you to come to the Wond’ry! With our new extended hours, the 2nd floor is now open until 9 pm Monday-Thursday. It’s never been a better time to come explore, make, tinker, and create. Help us make 2018 the “Year of the Innovator!”

Innovate Onward!

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

the Wond’ry Hosts TOM Make-a-thon

TOM:Vanderbilt is a branch of TOM Global, a non-profit organization based in Tel-Aviv that hosts 72 hour make-a-thons around the world to develop specialized assistive technology for individuals living with disabilities. Small teams of Makers and Need Knowers work to create an innovative, low cost assistive technology to help improve the quality of life of the Need Knower. Makers are typically engineers or individuals with advanced technical skill, while Need Knowers can be individuals living with disabilities, caregivers, or professionals in the field.
This year, TOM:Vanderbilt will be hosting our first annual TOM makeathon at the Wond’ry, from January 19-21! There are a ton of ways to get involved, which you can find all across this site. Know someone who loves to tinker? Have apply to be a maker! Have a challenge which you think we could solve? Submit it in the Need Knowers application. Volunteers are also welcome for the event itself.  We look forward to a truly amazing 72 hours of innovation and collaboration!
Find out more information here.

Heritage Months Exhibit Highlights Notable Innovators

Wond’ry team collaborates to launch ‘Heritage Months’ project

The Wond’ry is Vanderbilt’s epicenter for equitable, diverse, and inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship.

Each month of the year, the Wond’ry will highlight inventors, change makers, influencers, thought-leaders, and entrepreneurs from across a wide array of disciplines and perspectives. By sharing their stories and experiences, our goal is to inspire thought-provoking insights and action that further spur positive advancement and collaboration in their honor.
Learn about related workshops, seminars, and more on our website.

Global Game Jam: The Hackathon for Gamers

The Global Game Jam is coming to the Wond’ry! It is the world’s largest game jam event that takes place in over 90+ countries. This hackathon for game developers begins with a kickoff presentation with a keynote speech and the unveiling of the secret theme for all 500+ worldwide sites.

In today’s heavily connected world, this event provides a chance for people to come together, be creative, share experiences, and express themselves using video games. In 2017, over 6800 games were created during the weekend event.

During the event, people can find a team, or if they have an idea, they can put together a team. No experience is necessary to participate and this public event is open to anyone 18 and up. It will be hosted on the 3rd floor of the Wond’ry from January 26th to the 28th, at the Wond’ry.

Register now to join the fun!

the Wond’ry Spotlight:

Meet Julia Jane Eskew- Harpeth Hall Intern

Hi, everyone! I’m Julia Jane Eskew, and I am a senior at the Harpeth Hall School. I am excited to be interning at the Wond’ry, for 3 weeks! I am passionate about art and have experience in a variety of mediums such as printmaking, 3D installation, oil painting, and design. I am excited to join my artistic knowledge with the Wond’ry’s mission of innovation and creativity. I am thrilled to be designing and creating pieces for the Wond’ry. My family moved to Nashville, for me to attend Harpeth Hall and swim competitively for the Nashville Aquatic Club. Next year, I will be attending the University of Virginia, where I will be continuing my swimming career along with a major in Neuroscience at the College of Arts and Sciences.
In my free time, I enjoy yoga, working on my art sketchbook, and baking with my family.

Highlights from Recent Events:

Vanderbilt Community and Guests Enjoy the Emerging Tech Lab

The AR/VR team hosted their first meetup in December. The Vanderbilt community, and invited guests, had an opportunity to try out the AR/VR equipment, and enjoy light refreshments.  The Emerging Tech lab will be hosting ongoing events so keep an eye on our social media and event calendar for more details.

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 PreLaunch and PostLaunch

For aspiring Vanderbilt entrepreneurs, the Wond’ry offers a 6-week PreLaunch program that provides the foundational knowledge needed to successfully identify and assess ideas for a quality for profit or non-profit venture. This program is now a part of Vanderbilt’s I-Corps Site program for STEM entrepreneurs that provides micro-grant funding from the NSF and access to the National I-Corps program. PostLaunch is a 7-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 Innovation & Entrepreneurship

The Social Entrepreneurship Program is assisting students with opportunities to develop for-profit social enterprises that tackle important societal problems like food deserts, lack of healthy food options, food waste, and the eradication of poverty through entrepreneurship, which if successful can be adopted into full scale programs and potential partnerships with  nonprofit 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.

In the News:

Past Versions of News from the Wond’ry:

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

Upcoming Events:

TOM Make-a-thon

Connect with others from your community to create extremely affordable solutions for everyday challenges facing people with disabilities

January 19th-21st
the Wond’ry

VEN Meeting
Vanderbilt Entrepreneur Network Monthly Meetup

January 23 6-7pm
the Wond’ry 1st Floor

AR/VR Meetup
Come to the Wond’ry and meet others interested in AR/VR and try out our equipment

January 26th 6-7pm
the Wond’ry AR/VR Lab 2nd Floor

3D CAD Auto Desk Fusion 360
Designing solid parts

January 30th, 4-5pm
the Wond’ry Makerspace 2nd Floor

VUARC Kit Building
Kit building workshop

January 30th, 4-5pm
the Wond’ry Makerspace 2nd Floor

Design Sketching
Dig into the mindset and techniques of the best designers in the world to help you use drawing to get things done.

January 31st, 6-7pm
the Wond’ry Rm 104

DIVE Bootcamp: Build a Better Library
You will have the opportunity to address a community-identified challenge in innovative ways using the processes of Human-Centered Design. The design challenge of this workshop will be: How can Vanderbilt address natural disasters in a compassionate way?

February 3rd, 5-8pm
Sarratt|Rand 325/327

CEO/CTO Meetup
Where strategy skills meet tech skills

February 13th, 6-7pm
the Wond’ry 1st floor

Makerspace Ongoing Safety Seminars
Safety Seminars for access to all Makerspaces

Monday-Thursday 7-8pm
the Wond’ry Rm 201

Global Game Jam
Global game development hackathon, open to all skill levels

January 26-28th
the Wond’ry 2nd and 3rd floors



Join the Social Enterprise Alliance

Interested in social enterprise? Sign-up to receive notifications about being a part of Nashville’s Social Enterprise Alliance, via the Wond’ry. Members will have access to information and opportunities surrounding social entrepreneurship and social impact. Email Dominique Anderson to be added to the list.


Call for Affordable Housing Project Participants

Did you know that Nashville has affordable housing for creatives? If not, you’re not alone. The Wond’ry’s social innovations pillar is developing a working group focused on mapping affordable housing options throughout the city.  We are seeking students interested in app development, graphic design, project management, and more. To be a part of the conversation, email Dominique Anderson.


Vanderbilt Green Fund

Did you know the Vanderbilt Green Fund allocates $150K to fund student-proposed sustainability projects? Some past projects include the Solar Dok on the Commons patio, hydration stations, and solar panels on the tennis center. If you have an idea for a sustainability project that would benefit the Vanderbilt community, submit a proposal now on AnchorLink. The preliminary proposal deadline is Friday, November 17th and the final deadline is Monday, January 23rd. Have questions? Email Jimmy Troderman for more information.


Interested in the World of STEM Startups?

Have a STEM idea? Have a piece of technology you’ve developed in the lab that you think might have the commercial application? Vanderbilt is a newly designated I-Corps site. Teams participating in the site program are eligible for $2300 in funding and to participate in the National I-Corps program, which provides $50K in additional funding. Visit our website to learn more about this exciting program.


Values and Ventures Competition

A unique annual competition for undergraduate students from around the world to pitch plans for businesses, products or services that make a profit while also benefiting the environment, the community or a specific population. Presented by the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center and held in Ft. Worth, TX. Top prize is over $100K in cash and in-kind services. Intent to compete forms available now. 


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.


Submit the World’s Richest and Largest Startup Competition

If you think you have the world’s next million dollar idea, make sure to submit it to the Rice University Business Plan Competition. 42 teams compete over 3 days, for millions in prizes and billions in funding.

Learn more here.


Turner Family Center Social Ventures Summit

Join thought leaders and innovators from various social impact sectors, at the Turner Family Center, as they discuss issues affecting local, national and international social issues, and possible solutions.

Learn more here.


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.

Visit US in the Commons:

We will have office hours, in the Commons, starting 2/1.  Feel free to stop by to ask questions, get a brochure or some swag, and enjoy some candy.


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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