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Kendall Grasela: Big Family Values

Growing up as one of 11 kids—five of whom were adopted— gave Kendall Grasela, Nu’20, insight into life and gratitude for having a large, close-knit family. Kendall’s parents are adoption advocates who dedicate their lives to helping others. She calls her mother her role model.

The first nursing major to play for Penn Women’s Basketball, Kendall— who wears the number 11 jersey—is currently team captain. She followed her brothers into basketball and her sister into nursing. “I look up to her a lot,” she said. “I loved science, I loved medicine … I loved being a part of making someone’s life better.” After Kendall took pre-med courses freshman year, her sister encouraged her to try some nursing classes. Kendall liked the curriculum’s focus and appreciated Penn Nursing’s tightknit community.

After graduation, she plans to continue her nursing education, but hasn’t decided on a specialty. “I think I’ll do an MSN,” she said, adding that her sister is back in school for her CRNA. While Kendall can imagine a career in anesthesiology, she could also see earning an MBA and “helping people on the policy side.” She’s drawn to pediatrics and orthopedics as well. “I’ll probably do bedside nursing a little bit … then work in a private practice if I do orthopedics and team up with a doctor or a surgeon that works with athletes.”

Having grown up in leafy Huntingdon Valley, Kendall wasn’t sure about living on an urban campus. But her Penn experience changed that. “I love how when you’re on the central campus it doesn’t feel like you’re in the city. You feel like you’re surrounded by trees and you don’t hear the cars, and then you walk off the four-street radius and you’re like ‘oh wow, I’m in the city’ — and it’s very cool.”