Shreya Mahasenan

Shreya Mahasenan
Shreya Mahasenan

Shreya Mahasenan is a graduate of Hillcrest High School’s Class of 2019 and Hillcrest’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme. Shreya and her family moved to the Salt Lake Valley in 2011. The love Shreya developed for the communities she encountered during her time in Utah and at Hillcrest has always stayed with her, motivating her to use her passion and curiosity for good.

As a Diploma Programme student, Shreya served as IB President during her senior year. Her experiences in IB cemented a belief that strengthening students’ writing skills is critical to forming the voices of future Communicators and Leaders. Shortly after graduating, she was invited by the IB to author three articles for the global “Graduate Voices” Blog. She also appeared on the IB’s “Thinking About Day 1” podcast, participating in a conversation on how best to prepare students to re-enter schools following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shreya’s time at Hillcrest was instrumental in developing her understanding of her role as a global citizen and advocate for good in her community. Being an avid ice hockey player, Shreya struggled with concussions during high school. Consequently, she developed a deep passion for improving the diagnosis and treatment of concussions, particularly for athletes at high risk of suffering similar injuries. Along with fellow Huskies Madison Hooper and Marie Miskin, Shreya submitted a design for a concussion diagnosis device to the University of Utah’s Lassonde Entrepreneurship Institute’s annual high school competition, where they received the STEM Leadership Award from the State of Utah.

Shreya focused her IB Extended Essay on exploring the causes behind higher concussion risks for female ice hockey players. She has since used the findings from this essay to advocate for better public information and safeguards concerning concussion risks in young athletes. Between 2019 and 2023, Shreya was a certified educator for the Concussion Legacy Foundation Canada, speaking to schools, parents, and sports teams to expand public awareness and knowledge of concussions.

After graduating from Hillcrest, she moved to Montreal, Canada to attend McGill University in pursuit of her interests in medicine and healthcare. There, Shreya continued to expand upon the passion and purpose she had developed at Hillcrest – including a firm belief that healthcare professionals have an important role to play in the improvement and expansion of medical services and advocating for better public awareness. She served three years as a certified emergency Medical Responder. Shreya also spent three years as an executive on McGill Medical Direction, the university’s official pre-med society. In her first year with the team, she co-founded the Aspire to Inspire Award, which provides students aspiring to become healthcare professionals with bursaries towards the costs associated with pursuing their dreams. The award has since become an annual tradition.

Shreya also worked on the McGill Scientific Writing Initiative’s Executive Team, which advocates for expanded scientific writing skills and resources for McGill students. Shreya and her fellow MSWI team were awarded the Learner Award for Teaching Innovation by McGill’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences for “impactful and innovative contributions” to education within the faculty.

For over two years, she also worked as a research assistant at Dr. Artur Kania’s neurodevelopment lab at the Montreal Clinical Research Institute, studying chronic pain circuits. The project she worked on is set to be submitted for publication in late 2023.

Shreya is also deeply passionate about cultural representation. In her second year, she cofounded the McGill Dharma Society, the university’s first and only official organization for students of Hindu and other Dharmic faith traditions. The team proudly hosted a virtual benefit concert during the COVID-19 pandemic to raise money for oxygen tanks and resources in India. For her work in founding MDS, Shreya has appeared on panels, podcasts, and in publications hosted by local, Canadian, and international cultural and religious organizations.

Shreya graduated from McGill in June 2023 with a B.Sc. in Anatomy and Cell Biology and a minor in Political Science. The next month, she returned to Utah to join Dr. Shizuko Morimoto’s clinical psychology lab at the University of Utah, where she is currently working as a clinical study coordinator. Dr. Morimoto’s lab works on non-pharmaceutical, technological interventions for patients with late-life depression and mood disorders. Similar technologies have also been studied for uses such as concussions and traumatic brain injuries. Shreya hopes that similar interventions will be part of a major paradigm shift in medicine towards accessible, nonintrusive, and non-pharmaceutical treatments, especially for the kinds of injuries and disorders that have long been largely invisible to outside eyes.

Shreya is grateful for her family, friends, teachers, and mentors who have guided her along the way – including many from Hillcrest. She is proud to forever be a Hillcrest Husky and can’t wait to see all the incredible leaders who continue to emerge from Hillcrest and become prominent voices for good in their communities.

Acceptance Statement

I could not be more honored and humbled to accept this award. If I had to sum up the greatest gift Hillcrest gave me in one word, it would be purpose. When I first started at Hillcrest, I was unsure of my place in the world and the role I’m meant to play. But Hillcrest showed me that clarity and direction can come from unexpected places – maybe even in a time that at first feels like our lowest or most uncertain. When I graduated, I graduated with all the excitement, joy, and wonder of someone ready to take my place in the world that was out there waiting for me. I wish the same for all my fellow Huskies on their journeys beyond Hillcrest.

My advice to my fellow Huskies is simply this: your greatest gifts to the world lie in what you are most passionate about. You each have a unique combination of strengths, interests, and experiences that shape who you are and the gifts you’re meant to give to the people and communities around you. Take advantage of this time to pursue what fascinates you, discover what drives you, and chase what fulfills you. And, always, remember your roots and the people who guided you along the way.

I could never fully list or express my gratitude to all the incredible teachers, mentors, and peers who were a part of my journey at Hillcrest, but that’s a testament to how many there were. I am immensely grateful for everything they taught me about school, and about life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the Hillcrest Alumni Association for presenting me with this award. I’m proud to forever call myself a Hillcrest Husky!