Blame the Subway Delay
In the late fall of 2016, our founder Susanne Cappendijk, PhD, MBA (aka Dr. C) was mentoring in the Bronx, NY. During this mentoring session, one of her mentees said “Dr. C, I’m worried about my resume; I don’t have any real skills. I don't think that I have any chance of getting into college”.
What to do?
It was clear to Dr. C that she needed to take action. But what to do?
While sitting in a major delay on the subway line 1, she started thinking about how she could help her mentee. Why not use her mentor, sponsor, and community service experience to start a nonprofit organization ("NPO")? Since Dr. C served for many years in her local Florida community creating challenging STEAM-content curricula offered to female-identifying middle school students, founding the Student Research and Academic Enrichment Program at the College of Medicine, Florida State University, serving as a member of the Board of the Governors role in the Leon County Research and Development Authority, and actively sponsoring local high school clubs and the local startup incubator and coworking space, Domi, she had a lot of experiences and insights to pull from.
Within 3 months after being stuck on MTA Line 1, Dr. C started EDsnaps with a main focus on offering underserved students, like her mentee, opportunities to build and strengthen their resumes.
The Launch of the 2017 Pilot Program
With no budget, Dr. C created a STEM+ Arts (STEAM) based 3-week Summer program. This Pilot Summer Program launched on July 10, 2017 in the Bronx, NY. With the help of 50+ volunteers, in-kind donations and Dr. C’s sheer determination, this program was offered completely for FREE to 7 underserved female-identifying high school students.
Growth and Student Population in 2018-2019
By the end of the summer of 2019, the EDsnaps Programs reached a total of 500+ participants in Manhattan, Washington Heights, and the Bronx. Over 95% of female-identifying students served in the programs come from historically underrepresented groups. The majority of the enrolled students are part of English as a Second Language (ESL) households.
Community Involvement in 2018-2019 Summer Programs
EDsnaps created 68 Corporate Social Responsibility opportunities in the format of workshops, lunch & learn speakers, and mentor events in the Summer Programs. Businesses ranged from small to global entities.
COVID-19 Effect on EDsnaps
In the spring of 2020, the work situation for EDsnaps changed similarly to rest of the world. Within 24 hrs, all in-person programs were cancelled. In March 2020, EDsnaps re-designed the After-school Program, the Summer Program, and the Continuous Learning Officer (CLO) Leadership Program into fully online programs. With the help of numerous community volunteers, counselors and staff, and sponsors, EDsnaps was able to offer amazing opportunities to all involved students.
EDsnaps 2020 Summer Programs Impact
In the spring and summer of 2020, we were able to serve 40+ underserved students and their families. Many of our previously enrolled female-identifying middle-school students were not able to attend our 8-week online STEAM Internship Program for Leaders, due to their socio-economic situation. We were not able to establish a technical support line with these students and their families.
Despite the 2020 Budget Cut…
While the 2020 budget was cut by over 60%, EDsnaps was able to design internships and fellowships for 10 college-enrolled students who each worked on their research project over the summer. Each intern/fellow was mentored by a personal mentor with whom they met on a weekly basis. Four of the interns worked as e-counselors in the 8-week STEAM Internship Program for Leaders offered to female-identifying students. This program was offered for FREE to all enrolled students. Our theme was “Past-Present-Future Women of Impact”. Students created multiple projects which EDsnaps is turning into tangible products, such as a video, story map, calendar pages, and gift card designs. EDsnaps launched the first volume of her e-magazine on December 9th, 2020.
EDsnaps Cannot do this Work Alone
During the 8-week Summer Program, EDsnaps worked with 60+ local, glocal, and global community leaders who shared their life experiences with the students and counselors. These "present women of impact" work in a variety of industries, are business owners, free-lance contractors, live in 8 different countries, and belong to different generations of leaders.
True to our Vision and Mission
Our vision is to “Increase diversity in the STEM workforce” and our mission is to “Inspire global STEAM-learners to become global STEAM-leaders”.
Based on the amazing, overwhelmingly positive feedback from all of our female-identifying summer program students, interns, and fellows, we know that our interaction immediately affected their professional and personal value. Many of our students stated: “EDsnaps gave me a reason to get up every morning in this otherwise completely lost COVID-19 dominated Summer”. Without a doubt, EDsnaps planted the seed in these STEM & STEAM-learners and they will become our next generation of STEM and STEAM-leaders.