Born in Los Alamitos, California, Peña is eligible to represent Ireland through her maternal grandmother, who was born in Derry, a town of 237,000 in Northern Ireland. She earned a degree in International Development Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, and competed for the UCLA Bruins during that time. Her Irish grandmother made her eligible for Irish citizenship, and in June 2010 she acquired dual citizenship and declared her intention to compete for Ireland at the 2012 London Olympics. In that same month Peña won the Irish national championships at Morton Stadium with an Irish record of 4.15 metres.
At the 2011 European Athletics Indoor Championships she set an Irish indoor record of 4.35 metres which she increased to 4.45 metres in 2012. At the San Diego Triton Invitational in April 2012 she set an outdoor Irish record of 4.52 metres.
“I feel even more prepared going into the Olympic year with Athletigen on my side,” Peña says, “as soon as I started to fully believe in myself – that’s when the doors started to open.”