Staff profiles: Brook Thompson
Even though she has retired from the military, Brook Thompson says it's still her job to care for her troops.
Thompson, a retired officer who contributed 20 years of service to the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam and Desert Storm eras, was recently appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to the Michigan Women's Commission, where she is serving as vice chair and leading the Initiative on Women Veterans Issues.
"My generation was the generation that were the leaders. We were the first women to go on board ship," she said. "We always kind of had to make do, and I feel an obligation to do more for others that come behind us."
Thompson is an administrative assistant and program manager in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education in the College of Education. In these roles, she supervises the secretarial support staff for CEPSE, works on curriculum changes and schedules classroom space for about 850 course sections.
Thompson has been involved in many veterans associations and also founded the chapters of Woman Officers Professional Association in Norfolk, Va. and San Diego. She has long been interested in female veterans’ issues.
"Female veterans happen to be very important to our executive chair, and that’s something near and dear to my heart," she said.
The purpose of the Michigan Women’s Commission, which is a division of the Department of Civil Rights, is to improve the quality of life for Michigan women through leadership and partnership on key issues. The three issues of focus this year are veterans' issues, human trafficking and women in business.
According to the Michigan Department of Military and Veteran Affairs, Michigan has the 11th largest veteran population in the U.S. but ranks last in total per capita expenditures for veterans.
Thompson said that veterans make up about 7 percent of Michigan’s population, and that 11 percent of Michigan veterans are female — and that number is increasing.
"It's not that services aren't out there. They need to be massaged," she said. "We need to do a better job of telling people that they’re out there and then connecting them."