Thomas Speta ’17

It’s crazy how much you learn from conference work! It’s a process of getting lost and then coming back.

What was your conference project?

I explored the psychological consequences that displaced LGBT youth face. I focused on those who were kicked out of their homes because their parents were not accepting of them, and the effects of that 10 to 15 years later: how these people overcame huge obstacles.

How did faculty support you?

Sean Akerman, my professor, was as excited about the project as I was. It was very personal to me, and he saw that and really got on the same level with me. It was always great to go into conference: I was excited and he was excited, and it really propelled the progress of the project and how far I took it.

What have you learned from your conference work?

It’s crazy how much you learn from conference work! It takes away the arbitrary feeling of research or academics in general—that we’re just doing this for a grade. Because we’re not. These projects end up meaning so much to us.

Conference work is a great example of being able to do your own work—find a topic and explore it. It’s a process of getting lost and then coming back. And so much of what we do here at Sarah Lawrence is driven by passion.

Which clubs or extracurricular activities did you participate in?

Thomas Speta '17I’ve been a member of Vocal Minority, Sarah Lawrence’s all-male a cappella club, for four years, and I’ve been the co-chair for two! I joined Vocal Minority in my first year and it has been a huge part of my college experience. I was a pretty shy first-year, so having a bunch of guys who all shared a common interest with me gave me a great start to making friends. As time went on, I eventually became the leader of the group and now I organize all of our events and manage rehearsals. It’s been such a fulfilling part of my time here and I always look forward to our rehearsals.

Thomas Speta '17I also just founded a club this year called SLC Drag Union, which is a club focused on drag performance. We do drag shows every month and encourage students to express themselves through gender performance. It’s super fun and a lot of new faces have started showing up, which is really exciting!

Did you have any internships while at Sarah Lawrence?

I interned at Story Pirates, a children’s theatre company in NYC. I’m very excited to work with the kids and create theatre for a younger audience. I have worked with the Office of Career Services and they’ve been a big help. Also, one of my theatre professors knows the people at Story Pirates so I was able to use that connection to intern with them. I expect my work with Story Pirates to give me a better sense of theatre work in NYC, as well as providing me more connections that I can hopefully use to find a job!

What role did your don play in your time at Sarah Lawrence?

My don is Emily Anhalt (classical languages & literature), she is a Greek Literature professor. She has been such an incredible support for me at Sarah Lawrence. Having a don who isn’t specifically theatre-based has been really important, as she has given me different (and refreshing) opinions on my theatre work, my academics, and my personal life. She also got me in contact with the company that I work for over the summers, so I would definitely say that my donning experience has been hugely beneficial.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m currently writing a solo show about my life and my experience as a gay man, which I am very excited about! Sarah Lawrence gave me the tools and the confidence to move forward with a show like this, and I am eternally thankful for that. I’m looking forward to the future of that project, as well as my future as a Sarah Lawrence graduate and theatre maker.