Training Future STEM Leaders One Student at a Time with Susanne Cappendijk

Episode Summary

Today, Maria talks with Susanne Cappendijk, Founder and President of EDsnaps, a non-profit organization that wants to increase diversity in the Science Technology Engineering and Math workforce. Through partnerships and collaborations with academia, corporations, non-profit organizations and individual volunteers, they are providing free after-school and summer programs to female-identifying students through hands-on experiences and real-life interactions. Susanne is a strategic, creative and visionary entrepreneurial professional with a unique blend of scientific research skills gained in academia, complemented by business consulting experience with companies ranging from early-stage startups to Fortune 100 corporations. They discuss how EDsnaps addresses STEM talent gaps in a creative, positive and collaborative environment that enables female-identifying students to build 21-century skills and get ready for the next phase of their careers as well-rounded and well-grounded STEM leaders. They also unpack how Susanne bootstrapped her idea in 2017, starting with a pilot summer program and how, amid the pandemic, they moved their programs entirely online. She also talks about the new summer 2020 intern and fellow program that offered paid internships for undergraduate and graduate students whose internships were cancelled. Tune in to learn from a creative and business-savvy social entrepreneur who knows how to turn constraints upside down and solve real-life problems in education.

Episode Notes

Production team:

Host : Maria Xenidou

Introduction Voice: David Bourne


 Contact us:



 Music credits:

Like Lee performed by The Mini Vandals

Transition sounds: Swamp Walks performed by Jingle Punks


Where to find more about Susanne Cappendijk and EDsnaps:

Susanne on LinkedIn



Mentioned in this episode:

Erasmus University Rotterdam

Karolinska Institutet - a medical university

Florida State University

John F. Kennedy High School (New York City)

Herman Miller Foundation


Palm Drive Capital


Listen to this episode and explore:

Childhood in the Netherlands: a deep love for books and spending time at her Dad's work (3:49)

University: her studies and research in Biology, Neuroscience and Pharmacology (7:45)

How Susanne views our human ability to learn (10:42)

Her decision to pursue an MBA and the path to her current role (13:56)

How students build hard and soft skills alongside Susanne (18:48)

The origin of EDsnaps: learning to solve a problem with the resources at hand (22:31)

EDsnaps’ mission: empowering female-identifying students to reach their full potential (25:19)

The growth journey of EDsnaps: from their first pilot program to today (28:00)

How Susanne pivoted their in-person programs to entirely online during the pandemic (32:30)

EDsnaps’ new 8-week summer program in 2020 (34:34)

The Continuously Learning Officer program: a co-ed leadership program for high school and college students (38:29)

How Susanne responded to the lost summer internships of her students (41:08)

Creating leadership opportunities for students through a peer-mentoring program (42:41)

Fostering leadership in underserved students through collaboration and uniting forces (44:04)

Leveraging partnerships to serve needs and wants of their students (48:09)

The role of volunteers in the EDsnaps programs (53:25)

How EDsnaps gets funding (55:25)

How they measure the success of their programs (57:13)

What Susanne wants to leave her mark on during her lifetime (1:03:07)