Ready To Serve
“I think Central is such a unique place. Everyone is involved in something, whether that be campus ministries, athletics or a club. Everyone has something that they’re part of.”
— Jenna Hernandez ’24
Hometown: Slater, Iowa
Major: Biochemistry and Biology
Scholarships: Dr. A.C. & Mrs. Wilma Van Doorninck Rempe Scholarship and Journey
Campus Activities: Student Body President, Student Senate, Board of Trustees, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Teaching Assistant, Tennis
Career Goal: Dentist
Jenna Hernandez ’24 loves to serve. Whether it be on the tennis court or on campus, she’s found a way to leave her mark here at Central College.
Hernandez was recruited by Central to play for the women’s tennis team.
“After I came here for a visit, I didn’t really want to visit anywhere else,” she says. “I knew the education would be awesome and pairing that with tennis were two of the main reasons why I chose to come to Central. It’s been the best decision.”
A biochemistry and biology major as well as a Spanish minor, Hernandez is on a pre-dental track.
“I decided to major in biochemistry because I was leaning towards going to dental school and it mostly aligned with the prerequisites that I needed,” she says. “And then since I was really enjoying all of the biology classes that I was taking, I decided that it would be really fun to add a biology major too.”
“I’m also minoring in Spanish because I know that it will be something really helpful in the healthcare field,” Hernandez says. “It’s beneficial for those who may not feel comfortable in a traditional office setting to be able to communicate with someone who speaks their language.”
Her coursework here at Central continues to prepare her for what’s next.
“I definitely feel like my classes are preparing me for the Dental Admission Test that I’m getting ready to take,” she says. “I’ve been starting to study and all the material that I’m needing to review and learn, I’m realizing, ‘oh, I already know this.’ I just feel like I’m ready to go.”
The connections and relationships that Hernandez has built during her time at Central extend beyond the borders of campus. Her involvement in Career Kickstarter — a one-week program during winter break that offers guaranteed micro-internship opportunities, plus the opportunity to explore potential career paths, has given her real-world experience with both Pella Family Dentistry and Recker Dental Care.
“Time at each place was super great,” Hernandez says. “I got to spend a whole day in their offices and watch them as they cared for patients. It was a really great experience just to solidify that I knew I wanted to go to dental school.”
Hernandez also found inspiration on her initial visit to Central that has been the foundation for her own leadership development.
“On my visit, I just saw a lot of people who were involved in a ton of different things,” she says. “And I thought to myself ‘I want to do that, too. I want to be able to do more than just be a student or an athlete.’”
This led Hernandez to serve on Student Senate during her first year. Her leadership on and off campus has earned her election as student body president.
“I chose to run for student body president because I was able to see a lot of past student body presidents and their leadership around campus through my involvement in the senate,” she says. “I got to see all the initiatives that they were a part of, and I knew that I wanted to try and step into that role to see how I too could help make campus a better place.”
“I think Central is such a unique place,” Hernandez says. “Everyone is involved in something, whether that be campus ministries, athletics or a club. Everyone has something that they’re part of.”
Some advice that Hernandez would give to her younger self is this: “I would definitely say just lean into it, lean into the challenges,” she says. “Be excited for the things that are coming. Embrace learning and experiencing new things.”
“I’ve had such a great time at Central,” Hernandez says with a smile. “It’s just a great place where the professors really care about you. They want to help you with your studies. And the coaches are super helpful. They want to see you grow in your academics, in your leadership and in your athletics. You don’t get that everywhere, and I think that’s really neat to see.”