Joanna Chin '14

Joanna Chin '14

Interdisciplinary Studies Program Graduate 

Integrated Disciplinary Areas: Anthropology + English + Psychology

What is your current role?

I am an Academic Advisor at New York University.

What was the topic of your final project?

I examined the multiplicity of ethnic and racial identities on an individual and communal level through the lens of narrative to address the question of self-hood and where we find belonging in a society rife with racial identity tensions.

Why did you choose the IDS major at Wheaton?

I chose the IDS major because I had questions that could not be answered with the tools and perspectives of one academic discipline. I wanted the opportunity to tailor my studies to those questions I was most passionate about and draw ideas from many places.

What benefits resulted from your participation in the IDS program?

Because of my time in IDS, I approach current social problems from many angles and try to seek out how issues are interconnected. I have come to really value different kinds of knowledge and also the different perspectives peers bring to the table. That collaboration of ideas is vital to any kind of innovation for positive growth. It's also a reflection of creation in all its interconnectedness.

How did Wheaton's IDS program prepare you for your current work?

A lot of the work projects I am engaged in now have required me to think critically about how they will impact multiple student populations and my university as a whole. Because of this, I need to use multiple lenses in the stages of research, development, and implementation of student programming as well as the correlations I make between student data and outcomes. The IDS program has also given me a deeper appreciation for how creativity emerges from this playful engagement of ideas when we do not settle on just what is familiar to us or "what has always been done." I value identifying gaps and standing in them, trying to bridge them.

What would you say to someone who is considering the IDS major?

The world is bigger than the boxes we organize it in—not that those categories do not matter, but the boundaries are fluid, and knowledge permeates them. Because of this, we must navigate the world of ideas with boldness and the understanding of how different ideas are in relationship with each other. Ideas are in dialogue, and the tension between them is worth engaging because our society needs that kind of meaningful dialogue rather than the reactionary stance people often lapse into. IDS majors embrace and learn to speak into that dialogue, and I think that kind of education shapes you for the rest of your life.