The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

‘Creativity and curiosity’: Wond’ry hosts fifth annual Tennessee Maker Fest

The Nashville community learned about the work of makers in the area.
Interactive+music-making+exhibit+in+Kids+Room+at+the+TN+Maker+Fest%2C+as+photographed+on+Oct.+7%2C+2023.+%28Hustler+Multimedia%2FAbby+Hoelscher%29
Abby Hoelscher
Interactive music-making exhibit in Kids’ Room at the TN Maker Fest, as photographed on Oct. 7, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Abby Hoelscher)

The Wond’ry buzzed with robots, high-speed 3D printers and Wookie roars on Saturday as artisans, researchers, designers, entrepreneurs and students filed in for the fifth annual Tennessee Maker Fest. Hosted at the Wond’ry, the Maker Fest welcomed over 1,800 people from the Nashville community to learn about the work of makers in the area. 

Kevin Galloway, the Wond’ry’s director of making, said the event’s goal was to celebrate creativity and spark curiosity. 

“Maker is a very broad term. It includes researchers in labs that are building things, artisans in the Nashville community and entrepreneurs who are trying to test ideas,” Galloway said.
“We’re bringing everyone together and giving them a platform.” 

A record 61 exhibitors tabled this year. New exhibits included the Red Bull Formula 1 team, Vanderbilt’s Robotics and Autonomous Systems Lab (RASL), the Honey Collective beekeeper cooperative and Vanderbilt Vanity. Staples of the event from previous years, including a lockpicking station and the Middle Tennessee Robotics Art Society, also made an appearance.

Formula One Red Bull Racing car at the TN Maker Fest, as photographed on Oct. 7, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Abby Hoelscher) (Abby Hoelscher)

Several Vanderbilt labs tabled at the event. The Vanderbilt Institute of Nanoscale Science and Engineering scaled up models of their technology, such as using sprinkles to represent photons, and kids explored their work hands-on with stencils and syringes. RASL let attendees take the driver’s seat in their driving simulator, which is used for research and for individuals with autism to practice and learn to drive.

Kid’s Room at the TN Maker Fest, as photographed on Oct. 7, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Abby Hoelscher)

The event was heavily attended by families, and many stations were intended for kids. Several booths offered takeaway crafts or hands-on activities, and Chewbacca roamed the first floor near the entrance. A Kids’ Room with the Adventure Science Center, Peabody’s Children’s Learning Lab and student exhibitors were also located downstairs. 

“It is important to help younger kids see that tech is exciting and something that is attainable to them,” Hallie Trauger, career and technical education teacher at Antioch High School, said. 

Chewbacca at the TN Maker Fest, as photographed on Oct. 7, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Abby Hoelscher) (Abby Hoelscher)

Trauger advises the Technology Student Association at Antioch, which brought two robots to their Maker Fest station. The high school students conversed with attendees and let them operate the wheeled robots with a controller. 

Several middle schoolers set up booths to sell crafted products like beaded keychains and uniquely shaped crayons.

Vanderbilt students and organizations also presented several exhibits. Vandy Vanity set up a booth upstairs among the other artisans and crafters, and the Fiber Arts Build Lab was staffed with students sharing their custom, adaptive designs. The Vanderbilt Design Studio also distributed 3D printed bowls on the first floor. 

David Florian, assistant professor of the practice of chemical and biological engineering, explained the skills being taught in the digital fabrication minor at Vanderbilt at a booth. Sophomore Connor Waterman joined him to present a high-speed 3D printer that he designed and built. 

“I think it’s cool for people to see what’s possible,” Waterman said. “I want to show people that you can print these really high strength materials, and you can print them super fast. This could be useful for manufacturing and creating strong functional parts in a reasonable amount of time.”

First-year Isabel Soliman said she came across the event by chance while showing her mother around campus. 

“We just happened upon it,” Soliman said. “It’s like a little farmer’s market but for engineers. I love the crafty, artsy booths. I thought all the hand-made crochet stuff upstairs was really cool.”

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About the Contributors
Lauren Lamson
Lauren Lamson, Staff Writer
Lauren Lamson (‘27) is from Madison, Wis., and is majoring in communication of science and technology in the College of Arts and Science. When she’s not writing for The Hustler, she enjoys running, attempting to solve crosswords and drinking lattes. You can reach her at [email protected].
Abby Hoelscher
Abby Hoelscher, Photography Editor
Abby Hoelscher (‘27) is from St. Louis and is an aspiring elementary teacher currently studying in Peabody College. She previously served as Deputy Photography Director. Outside of writing, she enjoys performing, learning Taylor Swift songs in American Sign Language and trying the seasonal lattes from the campus coffee shops. She can be reached at [email protected].
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