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the Wond'ry E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

February 2018

What really sets the Wond’ry apart and makes it so unique is our focus on serving the entire Innovation Spectrum from developing creative endeavors, thoughts, and expressions to launching entrepreneurial ventures and enterprises. And this upcoming month, I truly feel that our programs really highlight all that we have to offer.

Programs including “Redefining Tokenism” in partnership with the Black Cultural Center and the Center for Inclusive Excellence, a Black Mountain College Symposium “Chance Operations” event hosted with the Vanderbilt Department of Art, a Music Creates Event with both Nashville and Vanderbilt Student musicians, and a Jewelry Making and Design Workshops in our Makerspace, all showcase the unique and creative interests of our community. While the launching of our spring cohort of PreLaunch and PostLaunch is here to help those with a startup idea determine its viability and then how to make it scale. Hosting all of these events and programs, really proves to me how creative and enterprising our Vanderbilt community truly can be. I am inspired by the Wond’ry becoming a place that really is enabling everyone from all academic disciplines to explore, make, create, and tinker.

This month, I am most proud to announce our newest Student Ambassador and team member, Darko Osman. Darko is interning at the Wond’ry this spring semester assisting on a number of innovation and entrepreneurial endeavors as well as creating his own innovation project around increasing awareness and advocacy for those with visual impairment. This exciting event and exhibit will launch in March/April, and we urge you all to attend and experience innovation in action.

We look forward to seeing you at the Wond’ry soon and urge you to take some time to explore our various programs, workshops, and exhibits. Come check us out!

Innovate Onward!

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

Featured Upcoming Events

Wond’ry and BCC Partner to Host “Redefining Tokenism” Panel

The Black Cultural Center, the Center for Inclusive Excellence, and the Wond’ry have joined together to host a panel discussion about equity, diversity and inclusion within the business and tech sectors on February 21st at the Wond’ry.

The panel is comprised of dynamic, African-American, women leaders in the business and tech industries. Visit the BCC’s website  for more information about all of their Black history month events, across campus.

Register here to attend the panel!


Save the Date- the Wond’ry to host Music Creates Event on March 12th

The Wond’ry is partnering with local music creatives and music business minds for a fun-filled event exploring all that makes Music City a hub for the music industry and ripe for music entrepreneurs and new innovations. This event will feature an interactive panel discussion, performances from local artists, displays highlighting innovative music-related businesses, and time to connect over light refreshments.


Wond’ry Students Win at Celebration of Learning

Five student teams from the Wond’ry showcased their projects during the Center for Teaching’s Celebration of Learning on January 29th.Two projects were chosen for some coveted awards.  The Wond’ry team was so excited to have two teams take home awards for their great work.

  • The DO GOOD award for the project most likely to make a positive difference in the world went to Vana Learning’s software for improving interventions for middle school students with ADHD designed by Robert Trone and Joshua Stafford as part of the Wond’ry’s Pre & Post Flight program
  • The BE CREATIVE award for the project that demonstrated the most creativity also went to a Wond’ry project: “Wknot,” an 8 foot-by-8 foot mural made of two miles of yarn designed by James Cavenaugh and Joshua Forges

Celebrating the Olympics with Scott Hamilton and Comcast

On January 31st, the Wond’ry team and several Vanderbilt students were invited to Tech Hill Commons for the Comcast Olympic Preview event.

During this event, Comcast highlighted all the latest technology they will use during the Olympics to offer their customers an insider’s experience with access to both live streams, internet only web content, and insights about the athletes and their stories.

Olympic figure skater Scott Hamilton spoke about his experiences as an Olympian and the team was able to get a photo with him and the Senior Manager of External Affairs for Comcast, Kim Sasser-Hayden.

Time is Running Out! Apply for the spring cohort of PreLaunch or PostLaunch

PreLaunch is a 6 week program designed to help aspiring Vanderbilt entrepreneurs determine whether an idea is truly novel and worth pursuing. PostLaunch is a 7 week program for Vanderbilt entrepreneurs that are a bit farther along on their entrepreneurial journey and are ready to learn the steps it takes to actually launch a venture. Both programs conclude with an opportunity for participants to pitch their ideas to local investors, entrepreneurs, and Wond’ry staff for feedback and potential funding.

the Wond’ry Spotlight:

Darko – Student Ambassador

Çonî! My name is Darko Osman. I am a sophomore at Vanderbilt University in the Next Steps Program. Next Steps is a 4-year, inclusive, postsecondary program for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities, that aims to prepare students to live and work independently. I am excited to be one of the first student ambassadors at the Wond’ry who is also part of the Next Steps Program at Vanderbilt. Being part of this internship opens up many opportunities for the Next Steps program—for students now and future Commodores. I am working on a project this semester that will allow individuals without a visual impairment to experience what it is like to do daily tasks when you cannot see. This project will allow me to use my background, as someone who has low vision, to spread awareness and advocate for those with disabilities, while improving my own personal and professional skills. My family is from Iraq and I can speak a second language—Kurdish. In my free time, I enjoy listening to music, working out, and keeping up with the news and current political movements.

Highlights from Recent Events:

Wond’ry Hosted “Need Knowers” at the TOM Makeathon

In partnership with Tikkun Olam Makers, the Wond’ry hosted the TOM Makeathon, led by the Wond’ry’s Director of Making Kevin Galloway. This event paired makers with ‘need knowers’ to solve a challenge the need knowers face in their everyday lives. Dean Bandas spoke to the group and both the Tennessean and News Channel 4 covered this exciting 30 hour weekend of making.


Gamers Welcomed Back to the Wond’ry for The Global Game Jam

On Jan. 26-28 the Wond’ry hosted the Global Game Jam for the second year in a row. The Global Game Jam is a worldwide 48-hour game development marathon around a secret theme announced at the beginning of the weekend. This year’s theme was “transmission.” More than 140 game enthusiasts from Vanderbilt and around Middle Tennessee participated.


Immersive Teaching Models Highlighted during Black Mountain College Symposium

Vanderbilt University’s Department of Art and the Wond’ry presented Chance Operations, a two-day interdisciplinary symposium that examined the contemporary relevance of Black Mountain College’s immersive teaching models on art, design, and education. Artists, curators, students and educators from various disciplines illuminated Black Mountain’s unique pedagogical approach through lectures, roundtables, readings, concerts and performances, including a video projection of McLean Fahnestock and Michael Dickins’ Launch exhibit on the side of the Wond’ry.

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. Now open for 2018.

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:

VEN Meeting

Vanderbilt Entrepreneur Network Monthly Meetup

February 20, 6-7pm
the Wond’ry 1st floor

Digital Detangler
A talk on digital wellness, how to use technology to thrive and be present for the people in your life

February 20, 12-1pm
the Wond’ry 3rd floor

Redefining Tokenism Panel
A panel of dynamic African-American women discussing equity, diversity and inclusion in the business and tech industries.

February 21, 12-1:30pm
the Wond’ry 3rd floor

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

February 22, 6-7pm
the Wond’ry AR/VR Lab Rm 206

Sewing 101
Learn some basic sewing skills, including hand and machine stitches.

February 26,4-5:30pm
the Wond’ry 3rd floor

Yoga Mat Workshop
Stressed about classes? Design your own yoga mat and start your relaxation journey.

February 26, 12-1pm
the Wond’ry Makerspace Rm 201

Book Writing 101
Join NY Times Bestselling author Andrew Maraniss for an introduction to the book writing process.

February 28, 12-1pm
the Wond’ry 3rd floor

Safety Seminars
Required to gain access to the Wond’ry’s makerspaces
Monday-Thursday, 7-8pm Rm 201
No RSVP needed



2018 Draper Competition

Calling all entrepreneurial female undergrads to submit a business plan to the 2018 Draper Competition.  The annual Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs is designed to hone the skills that undergraduate women need to advance through the process from idea to venture creation. More than $60,000 is awarded in prizes and scholarships each year. Deadline to enter is March 2nd.  Learn more here.


Join the Social Enterprise Alliance

The Wond’ry has 10 Social Enterprise Alliance student memberships available. Memberships will be granted to the first 10 students to inquire and meet Wond’ry qualification guidelines. Email Dominique Anderson if interested.


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.


I-Corps- Vanderbilt Site and National Program

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.


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 would love to connect with you during our Commons office hours. Stop by every Thursday from 11am to 1pm to talk with a member of the Wond’ry team, learn more about opportunities available, and pick up some swag and 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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