Grainne McGinley and the Heart of Giving

Johnni Medina
May 4, 2022
women smiling with a plant

Go-Getters are set apart for their resilience through challenges, turning knowledge into action, and service to their community. Who better exemplifies those qualities than Grainne McGinley?

Grainne McGinley
Grainne McGinley '22

Grainne McGinley ’22 is a College of Health Professions nursing major on the Pleasantville Campus well-known for her dedication to service. A Jefferson Award winner and member of Gamma Sigma Sigma National Service Sorority, she’s committed the sparse free time she has to charitable work—from local animal shelters, to food banks, to overseas mission trips. (Seriously, we can’t list everything she’s done, but check out a sampling of some of her community service here!)

Her love for volunteering, and her passion for care, both stem from an injury when she was young. At the age of three, a kettle-related burn injury threw her into the path of a volunteer ambulance corps, and their care stuck with her. She explains, “When I turned of age, I made sure to start volunteering with the people who saved my life and the lives of so many others, and I became a medical assistant with the ambulance corps.”

“When I turned of age, I made sure to start volunteering with the people who saved my life and the lives of so many others."

When she arrived on Pace’s Pleasantville Campus, she already had a growing passion for healthcare, especially cardiovascular health. In her second year, she realized that only one third of the campus had access to Automatic External Defibrillators (AED), lifesaving medical equipment. She partnered with the Student Government Association and has added 11 new AEDs to date.

But she didn’t stop there. She currently works as an emergency room technician at Greenwich Hospital and White Plains Hospital, where she has seen firsthand how, in her words, “CPR and access to proper medical equipment and health education has saved so many people’s lives.”

More often than not, tireless helpers like McGinley work behind the scenes with little recognition, but her peers and faculty were so inspired by her work ethic that they voted for her to speak at Commencement. “It was a big surprise to me,” she says. “I’m really excited to have that honor to have some final remarks and share it to those who impacted me along the way here.”

"I’ve really had the opportunity to grow into a new person, and into the experiences I wanted to have.”

At the time of this interview, she’s still working on her speech, but she keeps bringing it back to ideas of working together, chasing opportunities, and making a difference. In other words, Opportunitas.

When asked what Opportunitas means to her, Grainne reflects, “I’m a first-generation college student. The opportunity that I’ve had to come to Pace and not only further my education but to build those connections, with my friends, with the faculty, my future clinical science employers—I’ve really had the opportunity to grow into a new person, and into the experiences I wanted to have.”

McGinley’s plans for after Commencement? You can bet on continued community service, as she’s on her final steps to securing a license as a CPR instructor and hopes to bring CPR training to her local community. She has final nursing exams to pass and then hopes to continue working in local hospitals, hopefully in an ICU burn unit. With as much as she’s already given, she’s hopeful to give even more. “I would love the opportunity to work with people in that moment that they need the most help.”

More from Pace


Nursing student Kalin Tang '22 traveled around the world and found herself at Pace University’s Lienhard School of Nursing. Kalin and her family lived in countries like Hong Kong, Korea, and Thailand, and also in several states throughout the United States.


"You're empowered to create your own experience, to tailor it around the impact that you want to make here on campus," says Film and Screen Studies student Justin Winley. "I'm building a community that I can draw on even after I graduate."


Meet Lubin student Aishna Kumar '22, a Pforzheimer Honors College student originally from Japan, who studied abroad in Barcelona, landed a dream internship at Nike, and took on a leadership role in Pace's chapter of the American Marketing Association.