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the Wond'ry E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

October 2018

What an amazing past month that we had at the Wond’ry! From kicking off a new partnership with IBM via the launch of the IBM Watson Hub for high technology and computing, to hosting our 2nd Annual Mini-Maker Faire that welcomed 3,000+ guests from across the Nashville area and beyond, the Wond’ry is buzzing with excitement and innovation!

Students, faculty, staff and even the broader Nashville community are coming to the Wond’ry to explore, innovate, tinker, invent, and make. Creative collisions are occurring and it’s been amazing to see what is possible when one opens their mind, tries something new, and is provided with the tools and mentorship needed to turn that passion project into a reality. These efforts have been further bolstered by the newest addition to our Makerspace, a laser cutter! This new piece of equipment is already in high demand with students, faculty, and staff coming to etch, burn, and cut their prototypes and projects. For those who have yet to see it, we welcome you to come join us at 6pm on October 31st for an introductory workshop! Perhaps you can even make an innovative Halloween costume using it!

Also coming up this month, we are proud to announce that we are hosting a “Future of Women of Color in Tech” seminar. On October 17th, leading voices of Nashville’s diversity-in-tech conversation will be coming to the Wond’ry to have a “fireside” chat on ways we can all improve our future. This event is open to everyone and we welcome you to attend! It will certainly be an enlightening and engaging conversation.

Have a cool project idea? An innovative startup you’ve been mulling over? Just want to meet new people from across campus? Come to the Wond’ry! We are here for you!

Innovate Onward!

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

Featured Upcoming Events:

Build Your Own IBM TJBot!

Ever wanted to build a robot who responds to your voice commands?  Our first TJBot series was a big hit, with over twenty participants taking the plunge into amateur robotics, led by Wond’ry Ambassador Mubarak Ganiyu (VU ’21).  Our next round of workshops will begin with an info session and sign-up event on  October 23, from 6:00-7:00 PM, on the 3rd floor of the Wond’ry.  Come explore cognitive technologies and programming as you build your own TJBot. It’s all FREE and you get to keep your TJBot at the end! Space is limited, so sign up now!

Intro to 2D CAD for Laser Cutting

That’s not the autumnal aroma of a bonfire you’re detecting at the Wond’ry this October… it’s our brand new laser cutter!  Able to etch, burn, and cut just about anything, from wood to metal, we can’t wait to see what people will create with it.  Join us on October 31 at 6:00 PM in our second floor Makerspace for an introductory workshop in how to use 2D CAD.

The Future of Women of Color in Tech

On October 17th at 12:30 PM, two of the leading voices of Nashville’s diversity in tech conversation–Daynise Joseph, Community Impact Manager at Google Fiber, and Fallon Wilson, Cofounder of Black in Tech Nashville–will host a fireside chat on the state of diversity and technology in Nashville and how to improve in the future.

Wond’ry Spotlight: WONDER BOT 

We are proud to announce the newest addition to the Wond’ry team: the WONDER BOT. Created by Deanna Meador, the Wond’ry Assistant Director, this robot plays informational messages using multiple holographic displays. It combines the best of low-tech and hi-tech into a single package, merging art and technology in an engaging way. Planned enhancements to WONDER BOT include interactive features, mechanical gripping appendages, and chassis-decorating using our new laser cutter. Want to get involved? Come see us today!

Highlights from Recent Events:

Nashville Mini-Maker Faire a big hit!

The Wond’ry played host again this year to Make Nashville‘s Mini-Maker Faire!  Over 3,000 visitors roamed the 79 booths and exhibits depicting everything from robotics to dress-making.

The event closed off portions of Garland Avenue to make room for exterior exhibits as well, including homemade hovercraft and a go-kart racing track.

This marks the second year the Nashville Mini-Maker Faire was hosted at the Wond’ry.  Plans for next year’s Faire are already underway!

Award-winning writer Gabby Rivera hosts Workshop at the Wond’ry

In collaboration with the Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the Wond’ry was excited to welcome Gabby Rivera, author of Juliet Takes a Breath and head writer for Marvel Comics’ America, on the morning of September 25, following her keynote lecture at Sarratt the night before. An informal meet-and-greet breakfast and a writing workshop hosted at the Wond’ry provided attendees with the opportunity to speak with the celebrated author. In the workshop, student learned ways to introduce topics of inclusion, diversity, and queerness into their work. It was an amazing event and one we look to replicate in the future.


IBM Watson Hub Opens at the Wond’ry

New at the Wond’ry is the IBM Watson Hub! In partnership with IBM, this Hub located in the Wond’ry’s Emerging Tech Lab will focus on creating and hosting workshops, seminars, and informational sessions on high technology ranging from Blockchain and Quantum Computing to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. The partnership with IBM kicked off with a two-day grand opening ceremony hosted by Vanderbilt’s University School of Engineering, in collaboration with IBM’s Vice President of Global University Programs, Dr. Naguib Attia. We are excited for this partnership and are certain that it will provide for great experiential learning opportunities for our community.

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

Makerspace Safety Seminar
A one-hour course required before accessing Wond’ry makerspaces.  No reservation required.

Every Monday through Thursday, 7-8pm
the Wond’ry, 2nd floor


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

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


Music Entrepreneurship
Join Jason & Jeremy Burchard, co-founders of RootNote, as they discuss business in the music industry.

October 16, 4:30-5:30pm
the Wond’ry 3rd floor


TJBot Workshop Intro Session
Learn about TJBots and build your own, FREE.

October 23, 6-7pm
the Wond’ry 3rd floor


The Future of Women of Color In Tech
Daynise Joseph of Google Fiber and Fallon Wilson of Black In Tech Nashville host a fireside chat about the WoC in the tech industry.

October 17, 12:30-2pm
the Wond’ry 2nd floor


IBM & Block Chain
A guest speaker from IBM discusses the popular distributed security format.

October 23, 5-6pm
the Wond’ry 3rd floor


AR/VR Monthly Meetup
Nashville-area VR enthusiasts meet to hang out, discuss advancements in VR, and try out new software.

October 25, 6-8pm
the Wond’ry 2nd Floor


Emerge 2018: Artificial Intelligence
Vanderbilt’s second annual conference on emerging technology will take place at the Wond’ry and discuss artificial intelligence.

October 27, 11am-5pm
the Wond’ry


DIVE: UX Methods and Designing Thinking for Retail
Design as an Immersive Vanderbilt Experience tackles the topic of UX in this workshop.

October 27, 10am-3pm
ESB 044




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.

ArtLab Call for Art Exhibits

The ArtLab program is looking for creative artists to explore the intersection of art and science for their April 2019 Exhibition, Focal Point: Lights, Lasers, and Lenses.  Interested artists are eligible to apply for small grants up to $300 to assist with exhibit creation.

Undergraduate students should apply online through the ArtLab-Wondry application site.  Graduate students, faculty, and staff may apply through the Curb Center application site.

General 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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