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the Wond'ry E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

January 2021

Spring Semester at the Wond’ry

Hello Innovators!

Throughout the unique challenges of the past year, the Wond’ry was proud to help aspiring innovators and entrepreneurs bring their ideas to reality in such an unprecedented situation.  Looking forward, we will continue offering resources and opportunities for individuals looking to pursue their innovative ideas.

In accordance with university policy, we will continue our operating procedures from last semester, including providing both entrepreneurship and social impact programs in a virtual format.  Except by reservation or appointment, the general Wond’ry offices will remain closed to walk-in visitors for the spring semester.  Our Makerspaces will remain available for usage by the Vanderbilt community, with individual, physically-distanced makerstations available for reservation beginning in February.  A number of our programs for this semester currently have applications open, so please check them out below.

Despite the unusual circumstances, the Wond’ry helped with many amazing projects in 2020.  We look forward to seeing what exciting innovations 2021 brings!


The Wond’ry Team


Upcoming Events



Global Game Jam Nashville

The Nashville Game Developers group will be hosting their annual Global Game Jam virtually this year. Sites across the world will play host to a creative marathon of game development in which the Global Game Jam organization gives a kickoff keynote and issues a theme for participants to create their own video game, board game, card game, or any other game format they wish.  Participants form teams and work together over a five day period to create their own games inspired by the theme. Join as a ready-made team or join as an individual and find a team during the event.  A showcase at the end highlights all the awesome creations people have made!

January 27 – 31, 2021

Click here to register for the Global Game Jam


Innovation Open Mic

In collaboration with I-Corps South at the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Wond’ry hosts a monthly Innovation Open Mic event, where aspiring innovators are invited to practice presenting their ideas and projects to a panel of entrepreneurial experts and mentors.  Whether a business, non-profit, technology, or invention, all ideas are welcome.  At the end of each event, presenters receive feedback from the mentor panel to help them improve their projects.

This event is limited to presenters and mentors only.  Presenters must apply prior to the event in order to present.  To find out how to apply, check out the Innovation Open Mic page.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021, 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM Central


The Coffee Equity Lab

The new Coffee Equity Lab at The Wond’ry engages students in learning about the issues shaping our world — climate change, global trade, equity, and justice — through the lens of the global coffee industry. The lab also collaborates with industry on projects advancing equity and sustainability in the sector. Key on-campus partners helping make this lab possible include the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, the VU Global Education Office, the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures, and the VU Center for Latin American Studies.

This Spring, the Coffee Equity Lab is hosting a variety of events and programs, including:

  • Coffee Track at the Turner Family Center for Social Ventures Annual Summit (open to the public, 2/19/21) with talks on sustainability, racial justice, emerging technology as a communication tool, and career pathways in the coffee industry. Notable speakers include Bambi Semroc of Conservation International and the Sustainable Coffee Challenge, Dr. Taya Brown and Devon Barker of the del Fuego Project, board members of the Coffee Coalition for Racial Equity, Ever Meister of Cafe Imports, and more!
  • Mapping the Coffee System and Designing for Coffee Equity: Four interdisciplinary teams of students will be undertaking systems thinking and human-centered design projects, focusing on advancing understanding and intervention around topics like climate change, value creation and equity, and ethical storytelling in the coffee sector.

To learn more and get involved, visit the Coffee Equity Lab website.


New University Course: Design Thinking, Design Doing

Wond’ry Evans Family Executive Director and Owen Graduate School of Management Faculty Member David Owens will be teaching a new University Course this semester: UNIV 3350/5350 – Design Thinking, Design Doing.  The course will provide an introduction to theories and practices of design, including methods for researching interactions between humans and their environments, as well as ways to develop purposeful interventions that result in more meaningful and effective interactions.

The course is open to undergraduate juniors and seniors, graduate students, and professional students.

Interested students should enroll via the YES course catalog.

Click here to learn more about the course.


Map the System Applications Open

The Wond’ry’s Social Impact practice is currently accepting registrations to the second annual VU Map the System Competition and will be hosting info sessions for interested students on Jan. 19 (register) & 26 (register), 2021.

Map the System is open to all VU undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Registration to participate in the Spring 2021 Map the System are due Jan. 31 at 5:59pm CT (register here). Not sure if you want to participate or have questions? Join an info session listed above!

About Map the System: Map the System is a global systems thinking competition. The Wond’ry hosts a VU competition, with the winner advancing to the Global Finals hosted by Oxford University. During the Spring semester, participants dive into a social or environmental issue that matters to them and explore, probe and research all its connecting elements and factors — later presenting their findings and research at the VU Map the System competition in April.



The Wond’ry’s Ideator program is currently accepting applications for its spring cohort!

Ideator is a no-cost, non-credit course open to students, faculty, and staff that teaches an evidence-based approach to idea evaluation. Is the idea needed? Who is the ideal audience? Where do you even start? Centered around customer discovery, Lean Launch methodology, and market evaluation, Ideator helps you determine if your idea has potential or maybe needs a bit more time at the drawing board.  Whether you have an idea for a business or non-profit, a product, a new technology, or a creative endeavor, Ideator can help put you on the track to bringing that idea to reality.

Ideator is divided into two parts, with a two-week short course designed to immerse students in the process of idea evaluation and a three-week extended course for individuals wishing to dive further into their idea. The goal is to understand and achieve problem-solution fit by the end of the program.

Individuals who complete Ideator will have the opportunity to compete for micro-grant funding to help further explore their idea.  Individuals who complete Ideator with STEM-related ideas may also have the opportunity to apply for the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps program, which provides $50,000 non-dilutive grants!

Ideator will meet virtually on Saturdays beginning February 20, 2021.

Click to learn more about Ideator and apply!



The Wond’ry’s Builder program is currently accepting applications!

Builder is a nine-week course meeting once weekly online that provides a step-by-step guide for aspiring entrepreneurs with a viable early stage idea to actually launch a new venture. Builder is the perfect next step for graduates of the Wond’ry Ideator program, but is open to any student, faculty, or staff with a product, technology, or service that has already engaged in customer discovery efforts and found product-solution fit.   Builder helps entrepreneurs learn how to launch a new non-profit or for-profit venture or pursue a licensing deal.

Individuals who complete Builder will have the opportunity to compete for micro-grant funding to help get their venture started.  Individuals who complete Ideator with STEM-related ideas may also have the opportunity to apply for the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps program, which provides $50,000 non-dilutive grants!

Builder will meet virtually on Saturdays beginning February 20, 2021.

Click to learn more about Builder and apply!


In the News




The Rice Business Plan Competition is the currently accepting applications from graduate-level student startups. The competition is organized by the Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship, which is Rice University’s internationally-recognized initiative devoted to the support of entrepreneurship, and the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business, with prizes totaling $1.3 million.

Applications are due January 17, 2021

Click here for more information and to apply


Agorize’s Challenge Campus 2030 competition is now accepting pitch applications for innovations that will allow universities to be more socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

Applications are due February 7, 2021

Click here for more information and to apply


COVID-19 Innovation at the Wond’ry

With the current global situation requiring changes big and small to our daily lives, the Wond’ry has been working to help develop innovative solutions to a number of pressing issues.  You can check on recent developments at a new page on our website:

COVID-19 Innovation at the Wond’ry


Online Events at the Wond’ry

Keep innovating at home by joining the Wond’ry for online events!  Hosted via Zoom, the Wond’ry will be bringing you interesting lectures, engaging workshops, and innovative virtual gatherings.

Check out our Online Events page:



Virtual Office Hours

The Wond’ry staff are now hosting virtual office hours via Zoom!  Check out the Wond’ry homepage to see available hours.  Please note that some staff members require you to book a timeslot via Calendly.  Alternatively, other staff members will have open Zoom meeting rooms during their scheduled times.


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
LinkedIn: thewondry


Located at:
2414 Highland Avenue
Suite 102
Nashville, TN 37212

(Please note: physical office is open by appointment only)

Connect with Us

For additional information on the Wond’ry, including office hours, please visit thewondry.com.


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