Recently, I sat down with Jeff Brenna, our pharmacy technician program instructor at Washington Technical Institute, and had the chance to ask him some questions. It is exciting to spotlight the amazing instructors we have here at Washington Tech. Jeff brings a wealth of experience to our program and our students are truly lucky to have his expertise at their disposal! He helps our students navigate the program, which has both a self-paced fully online course and an in-person externship in a pharmacy to gain hands-on experience.
Jeff earned his Doctor of Pharmacy degree (Pharm.D.) through North Dakota State University.
Tell us a little about yourself…family, pets, hobbies…anything you’d like to share to help readers get to know you better.
I grew up in a small town in Minnesota and attending college near where I grew up. I moved away to Arizona and started my career working in community pharmacy after graduation for seven years. I then moved my family to the Minneapolis/St Paul area where I currently live and enjoy being involved watching my three kids grow up fast. I love all things summer in Minnesota related to sun and lakes and enjoy spending time outdoors in the fall walking through the many trails and parks throughout the state. Additionally, in the Minneapolis/St Paul area there is a wealth of opportunity to get involved in cultural activities such as concerts, musicals, art, etc. and I really enjoy getting out to be a part of this urban culture as well.
Tell us one unique/silly fact about you…what makes you stand out?
I’m usually the one described as the one who smiles and laughs a lot. A friend of mine has a young daughter, who before she could remember my name, would just call me “laughy-guy”.
Tell us a little bit about why you chose to come to WTI and support our students?
I grew up with one of the directors of the school and when he asked me to help out, I embraced the opportunity as I truly enjoy helping others learn and develop the skills they need to achieve their educational goals. Additionally, having worked as a pharmacist for as long as I have, I understand that any pharmacist is only as good as their best technician. So, I value the importance of having great technicians and know they make me better!
What is your favorite part about what you do here at WTI?
Whenever a student might have a question or concern, I’m often able to learn something new as well in finding an answer for them. I like to be able to be the person that someone can reach out to for help.
If you could give our students any advice about starting your courses/programs…what would it be?
I think it’s important to ensure you’re setting your endpoint related to when you want to complete your training. Divide up the work that needs to be completed over that time and make sure you’re putting enough time in each week to complete your work. It’s easy to have on-line coursework get away from your regular routines so it’s important to prioritize it accordingly. Also, make sure you’re reaching out to your instructors for help. That’s why we’re here!
What would you say to someone considering short-term, career/tech school certificates over a traditional 2- or 4- year degree?
I really feel that career/tech school training provides an advantage relative to the time and money needed for traditional coursework. Any job you get subsequent to high school has a specific skill set and getting one you’re interested is really the most important aspect. You can get those skills through career/tech school for much less money and much less time. Once you get your first job, you’ll earn valuable experience, which is often times much more important than any specific degree for many jobs!
WTI programs are all self-paced certificates and are led by exceptional and engaged instructors. We look forward to continually highlighting them in future spotlights. Until then, you can check out all our program details by visiting the Washington Technical Institute website. We are also committed to helping our students complete affordable programs with little to no debt, if possible. We have interest-free installment options as well as partner with great lending partners that provide student-friendly lending options. Visit our financial assistance page for more information.