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the Wond'ry E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

April 2019

As we look to the end of the semester and prepare for graduation, we at the Wond’ry want to give our thanks and appreciation to the countless students, faculty, and staff who dedicated their time, energy, and efforts to make this spring so fantastically innovative at Vanderbilt University. From the creation of new types of art that merge technology and science via our ArtLab to the launching of new collaboration partnerships with the United States Army, this month alone – much like our entire semester – has had an incredible number of diverse events and activities!


Ending the spring semester on a high note, the Wond’ry is proud to announce that we provided microgrants to nine Vanderbilt teams that participated in our PreLaunch and PostLaunch pillar programs. The teams will be using these funds over the summer to further develop their new ventures and best determine a path forward to success. From our Emerging Tech Lab, the Autonomous Vehicle Group–a student organization–proudly unveiled their autonomous driving golf cart for the first time. We can’t wait to one day see this golf cart shuttling people to and from the Wond’ry, without the need for a driver! Amazing!


As we look to the summer semester, we welcome any and all students, faculty, and staff to come to the Wond’ry to continue their innovation journey and to explore how they can get further involved with us. If you find yourself away from Nashville, be sure to check our website regularly for updates and to follow us on social media: #theWONDRY.


Have a safe and restful summer and as always Innovate Onward!


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

Army Futures Command signs partnership with Vanderbilt

A ceremony held April 9 at the Wond’ry finalized a collaborative agreement between Army Futures Command and Vanderbilt University.  The partnership aims to foster solutions for soldiers on and off the field and provide academic resources and connections to help develop soldiers’ own innovative ideas.  Soldiers from Fort Campbell have previously worked with the Wond’ry in developing cost-effective tools using 3D printing technology, paving the way for this formalized partnership.

ArtLab Focal Point: Lights, Lasers, and Lenses

ArtLab held its spring exhibition at the Wond’ry on April 11, 2019.  The theme this semester was Focal Point: Lights, Lasers, and Lenses.  The exhibition included lectures on the intersection of art and science and featured pieces created by Vanderbilt students, faculty, and staff across a variety of media.

The evening concluded with a musical laser light show displayed on the ESB lobby ceiling.

Zeno Power presents at Washington, DC

Zeno Power Systems, a team led by Vanderbilt students Tyler Bernstein and Jonathan Segal and sponsored by the Wond’ry, were invited to present at the University Innovation and Entrepreneurship Showcase in Washington, D.C. on April 10.  The team, accompanied by Wond’ry NSF I-Corps Consultant, Dr. Charleson Bell, presented their clean energy concept to members of Congress and other policy leaders in the annual showcase, which is organized by the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities and the Association of American Universities.

Generation E

On April 9 at the Wond’ry, Vanderbilt alum and entrepreneur Kevin Zhang hosted a workshop on getting started in eCommerce.  Kevin graduated from Vanderbilt in May 2018 and decided to start his own business after realizing the power of targeted advertising during an internship at McKinsey & Company.  He received acclaim within the digital community for scaling his business from scratch to $30M in sales within the first year.  Kevin currently leads a firm called Kreator Consulting, which provides strategic advice to organizations interested in improving their eCommerce capabilities.

Autism Acceptance Month Celebration

The Vanderbilt Autism and Neurodiversity Alliance (VANA) held a celebration in honor of Autism Acceptance Month at the Wond’ry on April 18.  The celebration included informational exhibits on autism as well as self-advocacy counselors.  Autism Acceptance Month has been held annually in April since its inception in 2011.

VANA, a student-led organization, has been working closely with the upcoming Frist Center for Autism and Innovation, set to open later in 2019, with offices adjacent to the Wond’ry in the Engineering and Science Building.

Full-size Autonomous Vehicle in development

The Autonomous Vehicle Group, a student-run project from the Wond’ry’s Emerging Tech Lab, recently received an upgrade in the form of a brand new full-size golf cart.  The project, which seeks to develop both the hardware and software needed to make a self-driving vehicle able to navigate on campus, has spent previous semesters building functional scale-models using toy car parts.  Work on a functional full-size version began in April, with the cart on display in the ESB lobby.  The project receives faculty assistance from VU Professor Ole Molvig, who also leads  the virtual reality initiatives in the Wond’ry’s Emerging Tech Lab.

Students interested in joining either program can contact thewondry@vanderbilt.edu for more information.

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:


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.

Pitch at the 36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival

36|86 Entrepreneurship Festival’s student entrepreneur showcase and pitch competition, 36|86: Student Edition, gives students a platform to access funding, marketing support and community and corporate resources. The goal of the pitch competition is to support the launch of viable student businesses.

Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative Summer Institute

The Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative will host their Summer Institute at the Vanderbilt Divinity School, May 20-24, 2019.  The theme is “Policy, Politics, and Privilege: The Prophetic Response to Racist Governance”.  Registration is required.

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.


Twitter: theWondry
Instagram: thewondry
Facebook: theWONDRY


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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