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the Wond'ry E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

August 2018

Welcome back to Vanderbilt! After a productive summer of internships, research, travel, and personal discovery, I am sure many of you are eager to connect with old and new friends while sharing your summer’s adventures and newly developed skills. At the Wond’ry, we too have had an incredibly busy summer preparing for your return, while developing exciting new programs and partnerships to further catalyze your innovation endeavors.

From Innovation in Fashion and Design Sketching to Electronic Kit Creation and Robot Building using Artificial Intelligence, we have 40+ new and highly diverse workshops planned for the fall semester alone to help spark your creativity and expand your horizons to what is possible. Likewise, we are also excited to announce a new Innovation Garage partnership with Resources Global Professionals, a global consulting firm, ongoing Social Ventures endeavors with the City of Nashville around Affordable Housing, and the kick-off of a new cohort of our award winning PreLaunch entrepreneurial program (apply now). So many exciting things are happening at the Wond’ry, so please come on by and meet with us to see how you can get involved!

Over the summer, we also had many new highlights. Our Innovation Garage team finished their summer projects developing innovative solutions for the retail industry, while numerous other students remained on campus developing various personal innovative ventures. These efforts paid off, as two of our teams recently won $45,000 in funding from LaunchTN’s 36|86 Entrepreneurial Festival Student Pitch Competition, receiving the Top Two Awards of the entire event!  In terms of other student efforts over the summer, one exciting highlight was our intern Mubarak Ganiyu’s (VUSE ’21) efforts to create new Wond’ry workshops around Quantum Computing, Blockchain, and TJbots in partnership with IBM. Want to learn about high tech? – attend these workshops this fall!

We are so excited to welcome you back to campus. If you’re looking to connect, collaborate, make, tinker, invent, or launch, please reach out to the Wond’ry. We will be your guide, mentor, and facilitator helping you turn these fresh insights into tangible realities. We are here for you!

Innovate Onward!

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

Featured Upcoming Events:

Build Your Own TJbot- A Workshop Series at the Wond’ry

Join us on September 12th from 6-6:50p on the 3rd floor of the Wond’ry to learn more about IBM’s TJbot and sign up for the 4-part workshop series to explore cognitive technologies and programming as you build your own TJbot to keep. Stay tuned for additional workshops on blockchain, quantum computing, IBM cloud, and much more!

Innovation in Fashion: Sewing & Upcycling 101

Bring an old pair of jeans, pants, or a shirt and join Vanderbilt’s own Alex Sargent, costume designer for the Vanderbilt Theatre, to turn something old into something great using upcycling techniques. Join us on September 18th from 4-5:30p on the 2nd floor of the Wond’ry.

Vanderbilt Entrepreneurship Conference

On November 9th, Vanderbilt will hold its first-ever entrepreneurship conference hosted by the Center for Entrepreneurship (C4E) in the Owen Graduate School of Management. This daylong event will feature exciting sessions on innovation, entrepreneurship, and venture capital, as well as a student pitch competition with a prize of $5K. Register today to reserve your space for this inaugural event.

the Wond’ry Spotlight:

Michael Dodson- Administrative Assistant

The Wond’ry has a new administrative assistant in Michael Dodson, a Vandy alum and lifelong Tennessean who is passionate about the intersection of technology, community, and art.

Michael graduated from Vanderbilt in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in English, summa cum laude.  Using the versatility of a language degree, he brought the knowledge and experience learned at Vanderbilt back to various rural communities in West Tennessee.  He has worked as a deputy clerk and master for Tennessee civil and criminal courts, a human resources director, a clothing store manager, a loan underwriter, and a data analyst and consultant for a multi-state cable enterprise.  In his spare time, he likes tinkering with ways to tell stories through interactive media.

Highlights from Summer:

A Student’s Summer Experience with IBM

Mubarak Ganiyu, a Vanderbilt student from Nigeria, worked at the Wond’ry this summer as part of an IBM fellowship program through Vanderbilt University’s School of Engineering. During this fellowship, he explored the research and analytic resources available on IBM’s Academic Initiative Platform. He used this information to design seminars and workshops that his fellow Vanderbilt students could participate in once they returned back to campus. At the end of his fellowship, Mubarak had the opportunity to present his ideas to IBM representatives.

Vanderbilt Teams Take Top Two Slots, $45K at  36|86 Pitch Competition

Four Vanderbilt student-led teams were invited to pitch at Nashville’s 36|86 conference along with students from six other area colleges and universities. Teams were given four minutes to present their innovations to a panel of esteemed judges followed by three minutes for Q&A. Prediction Health, led by Vanderbilt MD/PhD students Pedro Teixeira and Ravi Atreya, took home first place, receiving $25,000 for their technology to help doctors provide better and more efficient care of patients by integrating machine learning into clinical care. SynchroMotion, led by PhD student Harrison Bartlett, came in second place, receiving $20,000 for his innovative semi-powered ankle joint. Harrison’s ankle joint was recently featured in the National Science Foundation’s “4 Awesome Discoveries You Probably Didn’t Hear About” video series.


Soldiers and Students Worked Together to Revolutionize Prototyping & Production

In the Army, it can take years to design, prototype and produce a device for a specific task. That length of time can be cut to hours with 3D printers, laser cutters, injection molding machines and other makerspace gear.

This month, members of the Bravo Company 21st Engineer Battalion visited Vanderbilt’s campus for a daylong lesson with Director of Making Kevin Galloway.

“The soldiers at Fort Campbell are really interested in innovation, and we have rapid fabrication tools to improve their sustainability and operational readiness,” Galloway said. “We want to come up with solutions that soldiers can use in the field and make them more prepared for the scenarios that they encounter. From an educational point of view, working with soldiers can empower students to take charge and explore ideas and feel confident to try different things.”

In the News:

Our Pillar Programs:

Innovation Garage

In the Innovation Garage, an array of corporate 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 PreLaunch program that provides the foundational knowledge needed to successfully assess an idea, as well as a PostLaunch program aimed at aspiring entrepreneurs that are ready to learn the steps needed to launch a venture. These 7-week programs are 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.

Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship

The Social Innovation Program assists students, faculty, and staff with  designing a business model that uses revenue to solve societal issues, from food deserts and poverty to education and affordable housing. Each year, the Wond’ry focuses on partnering with local and regional non-profit and government organizations to lend Vanderbilt’s mental capital in order to develop solutions.

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

Electronic Kit Building Workshop
Learn the basics of working with electronic circuits

Every Friday beginning August 31, 3-5pm the Wond’ry 2nd floor


Working for Startups (Venture for America)
Come learn what skills are required to work with a startup and how to develop them

September 4, 6-7pm
the Wond’ry 3rd floor


DIVE Design Dash
A super-fast introduction to design thinking methods and mindsets

September 9, 12-2pm
the Wond’ry 3rd floor


CEO/CTO Meetup
An open event for this with strategy skills to meet those with tech skills

September 11, 6pm
the Wond’ry 1st floor


TJbot Workshop Intro Session
Learn about TJbots and build your own

September 12, 6-6:50pm
the Wond’ry 3rd floor


C4E Tell Your Story in Fundraising
Come learn how to effectively tell your story to investors with Andrew Goldner.  Pre-registration required

September 14, 8-4pm
Owen Graduate School of Management, Averbuch Auditorium


DIVE Informed Consent Redesign: Enhancing the Patient Experience
Learn innovative problem-solving skills and help advance patients’ experiences regarding informed consent

September 15, 10-3pm
the Wond’ry 3rd floor


Design Sketching Workshop
Learn to put your ideas on paper

September 17, 5-7pm
the Wond’ry 2nd floor Makerspace


Innovation in Fashion: Sewing and Upcycling 101
Create something new by upcycling something old

September 18, 4-5:30pm
the Wond’ry 2nd floor


C4E How a Founder Finds Product-Market Fit
Come learn from Sam Sheppard about how a founder finds market fit when starting a new company.  Pre-registration required

September 21, 8-4pm
Owen Graduate School of Management, Averbuch Auditorium


ArtLab Opening Reception
Learn about the intersection of art and science

September 21, 4-7pm
the Wond’ry 2nd floor


Learn Photoshop Tips and Tricks
Come learn about the most popular image editing software out there

September 23, 12-4pm
the Wond’ry 3rd floor


Be a Better Googler
Join Wond’ry Mentor Rahn Huber to learn how to maximize your Google usage

September 25, 12:30-1:30pm
the Wond’ry 3rd floor


Arduino for Beginners
Learn how to make an electronic device interact with the physical world

September 26, 6-7pm
the Wond’ry 2nd floor


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

September 27, 6-8pm
the Wond’ry 2nd floor


PreLaunch Accepting Applications

The Wond’ry PreLaunch Program is now accepting applications. This course, centered around the Business Model Canvas and focused on customer discovery, offers aspiring entrepreneurs an opportunity to determine whether an idea is truly novel and worth pursuing. This program is offered free of charge to the VU community and applications will be accepted until September 19th. Participants have an opportunity to pitch for microgrant funding at the end of the program.


Join the Social Enterprise Alliance

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


Apply for the Inaugural Social Innovations Think Tank

The Wond’ry is accepting applications for the inaugural Social Innovations Think Tank. This student group will work with a leading non-profit and a government organization in Nashville to design solutions that improve processes and revenue. To apply, email Dominique Anderson.


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 theWondry@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.

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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