2023 Tillman Scholar

Briana Thompson

Air Force
Yale University

“Constitutional rights are decided in Washington, but I will bring the fight for reproductive justice to communities with limited access to reproductive care and high rates of infant mortality.”

Briana is a fourteen-year Air Force Special Operations veteran who will represent clients and medical providers to advance reproductive justice. Briana’s father served in the Air Force for 27 years and her family moved around a lot, though she was lucky enough to spend her high school years in Germany. Not originally planning to join the military herself, Briana did ROTC in Washington, D.C. and commissioned in 2008. 

Her original plan of commissioning for just a few years changed when she discovered that she loved her military career, embracing its challenges and intensity. After several years on Special Operations C-130s, Briana eventually became a combat aviation advisor, where she trained, advised, and assisted foreign partners around the globe in employing their own combat airpower resources. As a combat aviation advisor, Briana was a confidant and trusted advisor for the foreign partners with whom she worked, embracing her role as their advocate. Sometimes it was tricky to balance the strategic expectations of the US and its partners, but she thrived on the challenge. 

It was in doing this job that she felt a renewed desire to attend law school so she could advocate for those who needed it most, especially around reproductive justice. Now more than ever, our communities deserve confident, seasoned, and ambitious advocates because the experiences that shape most people’s lives occur close to home and far from Washington. Outside of law school, Briana loves to try (and mostly fail) baking French pastries, ski, and dote on her fat rescue cat, Hugo.