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Joseph Thomas is leaning against a large bookshelf in a room filled with a big couch and various writing supplies. He is wearing a light grey shirt and jeans.

Joseph Thomas '17

Grad Degree:

Writing Studies M.A.

Outcome Opportunity:

Graduate/Professional School


MFA student


Notre Dame University

An Unconventional Path to Writing

Prior to enrolling in SJU's writing studies program, Joseph Thomas ’17 studied biology at Arcadia University and spent over nine years in the U.S Army as a medic. Though his academic career started off in the sciences, all the while, he was pursuing his passion for writing. “My previous background is still interesting but in a different, more critical way. What I love about writing though, is that nothing you learn is ever lost; everything contributes, even in ways you might not understand the moment you sit down to write.”  

Using Art to Start Important Conversations

Self-described as “a Black poet and memoirist from Philly,” Joseph currently uses his blog to write speculative fiction centered on disenfranchisement, coming of age as a person of color, and war. Joseph’s most recent collection of short stories titled, More than Foreign War, uses speculative fiction to disrupt and displace the majority-centered heteropatriarcal structures of military life.  

Published Works and a Passion to Continue

His work has been featured in Apiary Magazine and Philadelphia Printworks. His poetry can be found in Philadelphia Stories and he was a finalist for the Sandy Crimmins National Prize in Poetry. A tutor for SJU 's writing center during his time as a student, Joseph is now at Notre Dame University working on his MFA in fiction.