GVFaces: Henry Peña

December 12, 2023 (Volume 47, Number 8)
Article by Samantha Drougel

Henry Peña is a Doctor of Nursing Practice student who, in his spare time, is involved in several student organizations and helped to establish one.

Peña was the former president of the Kirkhof College of Nursing Graduate Student Association, a co-founder of the Multicultural Student Nurses Organization, and is currently serving as a Cook Leadership Fellow. 

Why should students get involved at Grand Valley? Peña said he believes that getting involved is a great way to learn from others.

“I think it is valuable to be a part of something that serves the greater good because I think you learn more about yourself and more about what is out there,” he said.

Peña earned a bachelor's degree in clinical laboratory science from Grand Valley in 2000 and a bachelor's degree in nursing in 2001. Now, 20 years later, he returned to his alma mater for a DNP degree. 

He said a colleague recognized his talent and recommended that he become a nurse practitioner. “There were a lot of doors that were open and I said to myself, 'I am going to go through them,'” he said.

While teaching an undergraduate class, Peña said he saw the need for a Multicultural Student Nurses Organization and wanted to fill that space. Last December he co-founded that organization with an undergraduate student.

Peña said nurses are natural leaders.

“The nurse is a conduit of care for an individual and their family, leading them through the continuum of care," he said.

He found a way to improve on those skills in the Hauenstein Center's Cook Leadership Academy. As a CLA Fellow, Peña said he is able to practice civic responsibility and stewardship.

“They take and they nurture that voice and they do it through a series of engagements,” said Pena.

As a first-generation Mexican American, Peña said he believes that taking hold of these opportunities is a way to give back to his parents. His family has been a big inspiration for him.

“There were a few words given to me by my brother-in-law: trust the process,” he said.



This article was last edited on December 12, 2023 at 9:49 a.m.

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