Brenna Breshears

Assistant Professor of Clinical Rehabilitation

Ball Hall
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About Dr. Breshears

Brenna Breshears is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Rehabilitation in the Department of Counseling, Education & Psychology Research at the University of Memphis. During her undergraduate studies in Sociology at Portland State University, Brenna became involved with a program providing sustainable food practice and food justice education to individuals incarcerated in various Oregon correctional facilities. This experience cemented both her passion for working with marginalized and underserved communities, as well as her intention to serve those within the criminal justice system. In recognition of the astronomical rate of developmental and psychiatric disability within the U.S. prison system, Brenna pursued a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling at Michigan State University, While working as a licensed clinician providing mental health, substance use, and vocational counseling, Brenna went on to complete a Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Counseling Education. As a research assistant and project manager, Brenna participated in community-based interdisciplinary research related to soft skills, job readiness, and reentry needs for both youth and adults. As a primary investigator, Brenna explored the lived experience of mandated counseling and coercive State power for those participating in court-required substance use interventions. Primarily utilizing qualitative methodology, Brenna’s current research program is grounded in the lived experience and intersection of incarceration, reentry, coercion, mental health, substance use, and disability. She remains passionate about service, and intentional in her commitment to anti-racism, inclusion, and decolonization in both pedagogy and practice.