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the Wond'ry E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

February 2019

From makeathons to innovation practicums, this past month at the Wond’ry has been buzzing with new innovation excitement! Notably, we were happy again to host the Tikkun Olam Makers Makeathon, a three-day event where we matched skilled makers across our faculty and student body with need-knowers to solve a particular issue. Being a former rugby player who has played all-over the world, I was particularly impressed by the VU student team who created a motorized wheelchair support system to allow a young athlete to play rugby more easily! Despite all my travels, I had never seen anything like it – truly an inspirational and innovative invention!


Likewise, as we continue to partner with groups across campus and expand our reach and influence into the community, I was excited to see the launch of our new partnership with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, where we created a “Practicum on Innovation,” teaching five educational sessions on the importance of innovation. We look forward to many more partnerships like this in the future.


Coming up this month, I am truly proud to announce the Wond’ry’s sponsorship of the “She Sang Freedom: Black Women, Music, and the Struggle for Social Justice” event on February 21st in partnership with the Blair School of Music, the Office for Equity Diversity and Inclusion, the Provost’s Office for Inclusive Excellence, and the Bishop Joseph Johnson Black Cultural Center. Hosted at the Wond’ry from 6-8pm, we will be introducing Dr. Tammy Kernodle, Professor of Musicology at Miami University, who will explore how music has been an innovative catalyst in driving equality and social justice in America.


Also this month notes the kick-off of our new Student Wond’ry Advisory Group (SWAG) committee as well as the culmination Dr. Patrick Leddin of Managerial Studies, Principles of Marketing course’s marketing capstone work on the Wond’ry. Both of these groups have and will continue to help us further hone our outreach, messaging, and marketing strategies. Always looking to improve ourselves, these efforts both create for an amazing experiential learning opportunity for our students and an awesome opportunity to expand our reach and impact across campus.


Come visit the Wond’ry and start your own innovation journey today!


Innovate Onward!

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


Tikkun Olam Makers Makeathon

Teams of makers from Vanderbilt and beyond raced the clock to create innovative solutions to the problems facing those with special physical needs as part of Vanderbilt’s Tikkun Olam Makers (TOM) makeathon, held January 18-20 at the Wond’ry.  The annual event pairs skilled makers with need-knowers looking to solve a particular issue.  Projects this year included a customized guitar pick holder for an aspiring young musician, and a motorized wheelchair support to allow a young athlete to play rugby more easily.

The name Tikkun Olam, Hebrew for “repairing the world,” indicates the purpose of this worldwide effort to empower people living with disabilities through technology.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute meets at the Wond’ry for “A Practicum on Innovation”

Members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Vanderbilt University met at the Wond’ry for “A Practicum on Innovation”, a series of five educational sessions hosted this winter by the Wond’ry.  During one session, Wond’ry thought leaders lectured on innovation topics, including presentations by Wond’ry VR ambassador Noah Robinson, PredictionHealth CTO Ravi Atreya, and NSF I-Corps consultant Charleson Bell.  Another session featured hands-on training with soldering, circuitry, and plastic vacuum forming, as well as a group exercise where participants attempted to diffuse digital bombs in a virtual reality environment.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Vanderbilt University is an inclusive group that strives to organize and present to the greater Nashville community stimulating intellectual and cultural noncredit courses, programs, and trips for adults over 50 of all educational backgrounds.

Featured Upcoming Events:

She Sang Freedom: Black Women, Music, and the Struggle for Social Justice

Dr. Tammy Kernodle, Professor of Musicology at Miami University, visits the Wond’ry on February 21st to perform She Sang Freedom, an interactive program that explores how black women musicians have used music as a means of documenting and promoting the struggle for equality and social justice in America. It combines a historical framework, which is set through multi-media images and historical accounts, with live musical performances that move through slavery, the Popular Front in 1940s New York, the front lines of the Civil Rights Movements, and the proliferation of the Black Power movement in the 1970s.

The musical voices highlighted through musical performances include Billie Holiday, Odetta, Nina Simone, Roberta Flack, The Staple Singers, and Fannie Lou Hamer and other female song leaders associated with the direct action campaigns of the 1960s.

February 21, from 6:00-8:00 PM, in the Wond’ry 3rd Floor Lounge.


Adaptable Making: When Every Job Is A Custom Job

The Wond’ry is excited to welcome Jamie McCormick of Shatterproof Media for a talk on “Adaptable Making: When Every Job Is A Custom Job”.  Shatterproof Media is a local Nashville company that provides photography and media services for high profile companies, including ESPN, Nissan, and Wells Fargo.  From a menu of select services, Jamie and Shatterproof Media create custom solutions for each and every client… a task that requires flexibility, creativity, and a solid process in order to produce results.  February 27, at 6:00 PM, in the Wond’ry, Room 202.


IBM Quantum Computing Workshop

This intensive 2-hour workshop, lead by IBM Quantum Ambassador Robert Loredo, serves as an introduction to quantum computing and how to make use of IBM’s Qiskit platform. Please bring a laptop to participate in workshop activities.  March 14, from 4:00-6:00 PM, in the Wond’ry 3rd Floor Lounge.  Space is limited so please RSVP.

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


IBM TJBot Workshop Group A
Learn about IBM TJBots and build your own for free in this 4-workshop series!  Group A meets on Tuesdays.

February 19, 6-7pm
the Wond’ry, Room 202


Molding & Casting Workshop
Learn the basics of small-object molding and epoxy casting.

February 20, 5-6pm
the Wond’ry, 2nd Floor Makerspace


She Sang Freedom
Join Dr. Tammy Kernodle of Miami University in a musical exploration of black women musicians’ struggle for equality.

February 21, 6-8pm
the Wond’ry, 3rd Floor Lounge


IBM TJBot Workshop Group B
Learn about IBM TJBots and build your own for free in this 4-workshop series!  Group B meets on Thursdays.

February 21, 6-7pm
the Wond’ry, Room 202


Adaptable Making
Jamie McCormick of Shatterproof Media speaks about innovation, flexibility, and how to deliver on EVERY customer request.

February 27, 6-7pm
the Wond’ry, Room 202


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

February 28, 6-8pm
the Wond’ry, 2nd Floor Lounge


IBM Quantum Computing Workshop
An intensive two-hour workshop introducing quantum computing, hosted by IBM Quantum Ambassador Robert Loredo.

March 14, 4-6pm
the Wond’ry, 3rd Floor Lounge



Wond’ry Student Engagement Committee

The Wond’ry is looking for students interested in marketing and engagement ideas to help bring the Wond’ry to an even wider audience and give input into future Wond’ry programming. Email theWondry@vanderbilt.edu if interested.

Apply for the Inaugural Social Ventures Think Tank

The Wond’ry is accepting applications for the inaugural Social Ventures 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 theWondry@vanderbilt.edu.

LaunchTN Internship Opportunities

The LaunchTN Internship Program gives students an opportunity to work with an ecosystem builder or growing startup in Tennessee. The diverse experiences and relationships generated by these internships are memorable, enjoyable and highly relevant to anyone pursuing an entrepreneurial path.

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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