Jo Unruh MFA '22 Selected as 2021 Tillman Scholar

MFA Creative Writing Student and Lambda Literary Fellow, Jo Unruh (Creative Nonfiction ‘22), was selected as a 2021 Tillman Scholar by the Pat Tillman Foundation, one of 60 scholars united by their military service, academic passions, and desire to make an impact. Jo will be joining a growing network of leaders who are dedicated to service beyond the self.

Jo Unruh, mfa degree, mfa in creative writing

Unruh says, “I once used robots to investigate bombs. As a writer, I investigate humanity with words, advancing a nonviolent world where every individual is free to live their truth.”

Jo’s military service began at Annapolis, where she grew her leadership skills, developed her passion for writing, reading, and language as a form of expression, and became one of only two midshipmen to have ever performed an exchange with École Spéciale Militaire de Saint-Cyr. After Annapolis, Jo studied Farsi at the Defense Language Institute. In 10 years of active duty and reserve service, Jo served as an explosive ordnance disposal officer, specializing in underwater mine countermeasures.

Among Jo’s proudest memories are leading innovative maritime security operations alongside the Royal Navy in the Arabian Gulf, and her work with Korean Navy Special Warfare and mine countermeasures forces that significantly enhanced readiness in the Korean theater. Indebted by international experience and love of languages and literature, Jo is pursuing her lifelong dream of becoming a writer and academic, focused on evolving towards a nonviolent world, where every individual can pursue their dreams without harmful or prejudicial barriers. 

Date of Mention: 
Monday, June 21, 2021