Posted on

The Wond’ry Beyond Engineering 

Anya Mondragon | November 6th, 2023

Bringing ideas to life. This is a core aspect of the mission statement of The Wond’ry, Vanderbilt’s Center for Innovation and Design. While the Wond’ry is well known for providing resources for engineering projects and scientific research, an important goal of the center is to promote entrepreneurship for all students, non-STEM included, who want a place to explore their ideas.

Lauren Chung, who held a position as an Innovation and Design research fellow at the Wond’ry, said she would recommend taking advantage of the Wond’ry’s resources to any interested student, even those not in engineering. As a research fellow, Chung interviewed company representatives to generate a dialogue about their firm’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. 

Chung, double majoring in Economics and HOD, first got involved with the Wond’ry after receiving a Peabody College email newsletter about a Social Innovation Bootcamp, only one of the various technology and innovation related events hosted annually by the Wond’ry. Other events include the monthly Innovation Open Mic, Social Innovation Lunches, the Climate Innovation Accelerator, Vanderbilt Innovation and Entrepreneurship Society (VINES) 48-Hour Launch, and Social Changemakers. 

“I think the most valuable thing that I’ve gotten from the Wond’ry is the network of people,” Chung said. “I’m not a STEM major at all, but I’ve gotten to connect with amazing mentors who have a lot of knowledge in entrepreneurship, innovation and business in general.”

The Wond’ry undeniably has a lot to offer on the design and science research side, as described in Vanguard’s article last year “The Wond’ry: An Incubator for Innovation,” but it is also valuable for more entrepreneurship oriented students or students in STEM curious about going into the business world after graduation. The Wond’ry has three programs to help student entrepreneurs with every part of the process: the Ideator program, the Builder program, and the Founder program. Through participation in these programs and mentorship, students can find support in fine-tuning their ideas, conducting market research, pursuing licensing, starting a company, and accessing funding. 

“I think it’s a great spot for people who are interested in learning more about business and the different sectors of it,” Chung added. “I think it’s incredible for those interested in entrepreneurship and innovation as well.”

For any students curious about how the Wond’ry could support their entrepreneurial goals, their website has more information. Another way to find out more is to simply drop by in person. 

“I highly, highly encourage students to step foot in the Wond’ry and just talk to a couple people who work there because I truly believe that there is something for everyone there,” Chung said. “If you talk to someone, they’ll point you in the right direction as to what kind of things that you can get involved in because there are many different avenues in which you can get involved in, depending on your interests.”