Scholar Class – 2011
Growing up in the conservative, small town of Jasper, IN, Tommy Craven learned an appreciation for hard work and commitment from his single mother who supported five children. Tommy got his first job at age 14 to pay for his expenses rather than take from his family’s limited financial resources. In high school, he quickly became involved in Student Council, community service clubs, performing arts, and Business Professionals of America; eventually being named National Treasure of the organization.
In 2009, Tommy announced to his family that he was gay and expected the worse from his conservative town. Thankfully he found that his respectable nature and achievements helped to lessen the bullying and disagreement. When attempts to start a GSA at his high school were met with opposition, Tommy started the LGBTQ awareness group, Raise Up, which held over 20 film screenings and panels and maintained an active social media presence to bring awareness to LGBTQ issues in southern Indiana. The GSA, after support from the ACLU, was officially instated at Tommy’s high school in 2012.
Since arriving at New York University in 2011, Tommy has explored his identity as an artist and gay man by creating film, theater, photography, and writing that tackle gender and sexuality. Some of his projects include a children’s book and short film “This-or-That “about a genderqueer child discovering their gender identity in a toy store, and a short film about a gay student dealing with past sexual abuse when his offender is put on trail for another sexual assault case. One of Tommy’s short films, “Blonde” premiered at the Big Apple Film Fest in November 2014.
Tommy has interned at PFLAG NYC, HB0 and MTV’s Logo network where he was recently promoted to a full-time position. He expects to graduate from NYU in May 2015 after which he plans to turn his senior thesis film into a pilot for a TV show.