Stephanie Wassenburg, PhD

Senior advisor

Behavioral & data scientist

Innovation and Data lab (IDlab)
Human Environment & Transport Inspectorate (ILT)
Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management



Hi! I am Stephanie Wassenburg and some of the things I like are running, traveling, dancing, playing board games, and whisky tasting. On this website, you can find more information about my professional interests and achievements. If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email!



After graduating in psychology (Master’s degree cognitive & biological psychology, awarded Cum Laude) at Erasmus University Rotterdam, I started as a PhD student at the Department of Educational Neuroscience at the VU University Amsterdam (December 2010). During my PhD, I studied reading comprehension in primary school children, under supervision of Prof. Jelle Jolles, Menno van der Schoot, and Björn de Koning. The faculty Talent Grant, which I was awarded in 2013, allowed me to obtain experience working abroad by visited the University of Sussex (Brighton, UK) for four months under supervision of Prof. Jane Oakhill. I have conducted both fundamental and applied studies on the cognitive processes and strategies that are involved in deep level reading comprehension. In April 2016, I received my doctorate. After this, I went back to Erasmus University Rotterdam as a Postdoctoral researcher to work with prof. Fred Paas.

The overarching theme of my research was the construction of a meaningful mental representation that is required for comprehension and learning. I am interested in the interaction between the body, cognition, and environment. From this situated perspective, I studied topics such as reading comprehension, hand gestures, mental simulation, imagery, metacognition, and educational technology.

In 2017, I was awarded the Rubicon grant. This grant has enabled me to conduct postdoctoral research at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA US, with Prof. Ken Koedinger as my adviser. This research primarily focused on the effectiveness of creating vlogs (video blogs) as a learning strategy as the growth in technology requires new approaches to learning. In addition, I examined how other educational technologies, such as learnersourcing and intelligent tutoring systems, can support and facilitate the learning process.

Listen to a short recent radio interview (in Dutch) on NPO Radio 1 "de wakkere wetenschapper" where I talk about this research (or find the podcast here.)


Since February 2019, I am working for the Dutch government as a data scientist. The Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) oversees compliance with statutory regulations by private individuals and companies in the areas of mobility, water management, aviation and maritime affairs and the environment. At the Innovation & Data lab (IDlab), we work with big data to (1) predict where more inspection efforts are needed, and (2) to visualize the complexity of society. We develop innovative solutions for complex problems by experimenting with new techniques and methods for data analysis. In my new position, I combine my background as a behavioral scientist with my newly acquired skills as a data scientist. Read about one of the projects I worked on at IDlab, ILT in an interview in Toezine or watch a short videoclip here (both in Dutch).


At the moment, I'm specializing in data science techniques such as text mining and social network analysis.