Greenwood native Michala Barnum was able to save a lot of Starbucks money while attending pharmacy tech classes at Piedmont Technical College thanks to Instructor and Program Director Clay Sprouse.

“In the morning, if you have an 8 a.m. class, you don’t need to get coffee before you go to class,” she quipped. “He will keep you awake and entertained in class. He has so many stories and makes everything relatable to students.”

After some rough patches in high school, Barnum at 17 earned a certified nursing assistant license through Greenwood High School’s career center. That sparked her interest in health care.

“I knew I wanted to do something in the medical field,” she said. “It turns out that pharmacy was absolutely perfect for what I was looking for.”

Sprouse was impressed by Barnum from the first day in class.

“She was so good that I ended up inviting her to be on our advisory board,” he said. It’s a role she still enjoys.

While at PTC, Barnum learned both clinical skills and soft skills.

“One of the skills I carry most from Piedmont Tech is time management. It really focused me on how to juggle work, school, being a Presidential Ambassador,” she said. “Ultimately I would like to work for a drug company pricing medications.”

And she’ll likely keep purchasing her coffee over the counter.