At World in Conversation, our facilitators are constantly reflecting upon their work and refining their facilitation. We believe it is important to communicate with others Facilitator Findings, anecdotes shared by facilitators themselves that illustrate moments of pride and success in their work and self-growth. We hope this Facilitator Finding enables you to get a better sense of the journey and work of a World in Conversation facilitator.
Meet Danyas Sarathy, a World in Conversation facilitator and Schreyer Honors College Scholar studying Physics. He is holding his name tag from the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Health conference; this artifact reminds him of a moment he found himself relying on his facilitation skills outside of his day-to-day work with World in Conversation.
“Recently I attended the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Health conference where I was sharing my research on Ebola. I was so worried about defending my research. I was in attendance with only two other undergraduate students, one from Yale and one from Harvard, and the remainder of the attendees were professional scientists. I thought to myself, ‘I am going to be talking to these scientists, and I don’t even know if I am a scientist!’ I was nervous and doubting myself quite a bit. Then, I realized, I am just building rapport; I am just having a conversation with these scientists, who are really just people.” Something clicked for Danyas as he realized he could rely on his experiences with World in Conversation; while he was questioning his scientific self; he KNEW he is a facilitator. “At the end of the day, the way that these professional scientists were going to engage with me and my research was by asking questions; and I know how to ask really strong, open-ended questions; that was familiar to me. I realized, I am just in dialogue here.”
Danyas continued to share about the event, “I found myself relying on my understanding of facilitation when people would ask me questions about my research, but more so when I went around to learn about other people’s research. I don’t think that would be something I would have done just a year earlier.” As Danyas was meeting so many different people, he realized that he had been doing this to some degree all semester. “I have been meeting new people multiple times each week when I facilitate dialogues for WinC.”
Danyas’s strength in asking questions and building rapport, which he has been practicing all semester, ultimately led him to be able to interact with the esteemed attendees with greater comfort, confidence, and wisdom. “My experience at the ASTMH conference made me realize how much facilitation I use in real life. The facilitation goes wherever you go; it is not something that just stays in Pond Lab at World in Conversation. So now, one of the things I continue to work on is being able to talk with people who are outside of my field and majors and really build rapport with them.”