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!
Evans Family Executive Director of the Wond’ry
Featured Upcoming Events:
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!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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: