Thomas is a doctoral candidate in African history. His research focuses on histories of childhood, gender, health, and development in West Africa in the 20th century. His dissertation, titled « Burkinabè Humanitarianisms: Children, Mutual Aid, and Migration in and beyond Burkina Faso (1932-1990) » examines the multifaceted interventions that surveyed children’s lives in Burkina Faso (Upper-Volta before 1984) from the 1930s to the 1980s. These efforts played a critical role in defining communities’ interactions and interpretations of governmental practice in the late colonial and post-colonial periods. The project links a history of social work practice, an analysis of economic models that quantified households in the post-war period, and a social history of experiences of such interventions.
Prior to pursuing his Ph.D., Thomas worked as a Peace Corps Fellow at University Neighborhood Housing Program, working on housing rights in New York. He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Benin for two years, with a focus on health and education.