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Innovating at The Wond’ry


Posted by on Friday, February 10, 2017

Photo: Anne Rayner/Vanderbilt University

Innovation and entrepreneurship have long been a hallmark of Vanderbilt’s rich academic environment. In fact, according to a recent report Vanderbilt is one of the world’s most innovative universities. Last semester, Vanderbilt launched a key new campus center called the Wond’ry designed to build on this foundation by offering a dedicated campus space for collaboration to students and faculty from across all academic disciplines.

Described as “the epicenter for innovation and entrepreneurship at Vanderbilt University,” the Wond’ry is a place where students can turn their ideas into action. With makerspaces, shared work environments, interactive art exhibits, and curricular programming, students will be able to use the Wond’ry to gain real-world experience collaborating on interdisciplinary projects. It’s a place where artists, engineers, researchers, and entrepreneurs (among others) can work together and learn from each other.

Photo: John Russell/Vanderbilt University

As a part of the Innovation Pavilion in the Engineering and Science Building, which also opened in 2016, the Wond’ry features state-of-the-art facilities. The makerspaces include tools for rapid prototyping, woodworking, circuitry, electronics, robotics, and more. With frequent training workshops and mentors available to lend help, beginners from any academic background and experience level can use the Wond’ry to unleash their creativity. The Wond’ry even provides a mix of free and subsidized materials.

The Wond’ry’s combines these top-notch facilities with programs designed to bring students and faculty together with partners in industry and the Nashville community. They include:

  • Innovation Garage: The goal of this program is to identify disruptive and innovative solutions that improve industry while providing unique opportunities for students to build their skills via real-world problem solving.
  • Entrepreneur Pre-Flight: For aspiring Vanderbilt entrepreneurs, the Wond’ry will offer a 7-week Pre-Flight program that provides the foundational knowledge needed to successfully identify, assess, and ultimately launch a high-quality for-profit or nonprofit venture.
  • Social Entrepreneurship & Ventures: The Wond’ry is developing pilot projects focused on solving urban issues like affordable housing, transportation, and health, which if successful can be adopted into full scale programs and potential partnerships with non-profit and government organizations.
  • Innovation Culture: From artist/music exhibits and speaker series to hackathons and business plan competitions, the Wond’ry will host workshops, speakers and events that cater to an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit.

For a closer look at the Wond’ry, check out the video below or visit the Wond’ry website which features a look inside the makerspaces. For more updates, you can also follow the Wond’ry on Twitter or Instagram.


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