Fall 2018Humans of IDP

Humans of IDP #23: Thomas Chen ’19 and Cat Spivak ’19, Gender

By March 4, 2019 April 23rd, 2019 No Comments

Our final pair for the facilitators of Fall 2018 are Thomas Chen ’19 and Cat Spivak ’19. Tom and Cat facilitated a gender section. Here’s what they have to say about IDP:

Co-Facilitators Tom ’19 and Cat ’19

Why IDP?

Tom: I think IDP is really cool because it creates a space where people can talk about anything. From hot topics in politics to the smallest things that happen in daily life, IDP encourages everyone to share and connect regardless of the differences that people might have with each other. At first, I  thought this wasn’t that big of a deal, so I really didn’t expect how much this type of space would impact me. The program has given me so many opportunities to learn and reflect on my beliefs and values while giving me more technical skills like listening and public speaking (just to list a couple). In short, it’s really awesome. There are so many things that I have learned through my experiences with this program, and it’s an amazing community that I am happy to be apart of. I just hope that I can contribute to IDP’s community and help create a space where other people can feel as open and supported as I do.

Cat: When I took IDP last semester, I could not have anticipated how it would transform my 

life. IDP gave me the space to explore my own identities –something I had never fully done before— and the ways my identities affect those around me. By the end of my time as a participant, I was seeing many things differently, from little everyday social interactions to larger-scale global events. I knew I had to continue my work with IDP so I became a facilitator, and if anything, my growth has expanded exponentially. This time around, I have had to lean into conflict as a learning moment, which is something that has pushed me to my learning edge and will likely always do so. This experience has truly revolutionized the way I view myself and others, and how I communicate.

What is your favorite thing about your co-facilitator?

Tom: Cat is so awesome for so many reasons. She’s super chill and light-hearted while also being just as sensitive and caring. I low key went through mini-existential crises throughout the semester, and she was a constant support to me and our participants throughout the entire process. I’m really thankful for all the times she carried me through tough weeks even though she was just as busy and for being on top of everything all the time. To Cat: I will always appreciate you as my co-facilitator and friend, and please we have to hang out again soon.

Cat: This is hard, there are so many things I could say for this! Intrinsically, Tom has this incredible way of relating to everyone, right off the bat. Whether he is facilitating class or simply talking to you, he is able to find a point of similarity with each and every person—it feels like you’ve known him for years! His earnestness and creativity in facilitating is unlike no other, so much so that he actively makes people want to participate and share. I admire this greatly, as this is a huge reason I felt so comfortable facilitating for the first time. I am so happy I got to work with someone as supportive and genuine as Tom this semester.