Milton Fisher Fund Awards $104,000 in Scholarships

A total of $104,000 distributed as eight, four-year scholarships; an additional $2,000 distributed as four honorable mention scholarships.

Winners of the 2021 Milton Fisher Scholarship for Innovation and Creativity
Winners of the 2021 Milton Fisher Scholarship for Innovation and Creativity.

New Haven, Conn. (September 27, 2021) - The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, the region's largest grantmaker and charitable endowment, is pleased to announce the winners of the 2021 Milton Fisher Scholarship for Innovation and Creativity. Eight high school students who came up with distinctive solutions to problems faced by their schools, communities, families and the world received a total of $104,000 in college scholarships (payable over four years of college). In addition, four high school students receiving honorable mentions were awarded a total of $2,000 in scholarships.

Each application submitted for consideration highlighted a creative project, and scholarships were awarded to the candidates whose projects demonstrated the greatest innovation and potential impact. The winners were recognized for projects involving science, technology and social action.

The Milton Fisher Scholarship for Innovation and Creativity was established in 2003 at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven by the Reneé B. Fisher Foundation. This scholarship is not a traditional scholarship focused on rewarding academic achievement. Its specific goal is to reward and encourage innovative and creative problem-solving. Although the scholarship is not awarded on the basis of financial need, the amount of each student’s award is shaped by financial need. High school juniors and seniors and college freshmen who either live in or plan to attend an institution of higher education in Connecticut or the New York metropolitan area are eligible to apply. The application deadline for 2022 is May 3; find a complete of set of guidelines and a link to the online application at and For more information, please email

Milton Fisher was born and educated in New York City and was a Connecticut resident from 1960 until his death in 2001. He was an attorney and an investment banker who also taught a unique course for adults called "Applied Creativity" for over 25 years. His deep interest in the roots of creativity, and the many exercises he developed to help people become more innovative and creative in their lives, also led him to write the book "Intuition: How to Use it in Your Life," which has been translated into several languages. Fisher also served on the boards of several public companies and wrote two books about Wall Street.

The Milton Fisher Scholarship is one of dozens of scholarships administered through The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. Thanks to the generosity of three generations of donors, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven is composed of hundreds of individually named funds and distributes millions of dollars in grants annually to build a stronger Greater New Haven region. The Foundation’s 20-town service area includes: Ansonia, Bethany, Branford, Cheshire, Derby, East Haven, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Milford, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Oxford, Seymour, Shelton, Wallingford, West Haven, Woodbridge. For more information about The Community Foundation, visit, find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter @cfgnh.

2021 Winners:

Christopher Alexander
Photo Courtesy of Christopher Alexander

Christopher Alexander
Elmont Memorial High School, Elmont, NY

After watching his father, grandmother and cousin suffer though the difficult side effects and great expense of chemotherapy, radiation and surgical treatments for their cancers, Christopher worked to help develop a way to target cancer cells with non-human viruses. The novel cancer-killing virus he characterized (named APMV-4) targets cancer cells while leaving other cells alone — without side effects, and at a very low cost. His research helps advance a very promising and affordable cancer treatment. He will attend Johns Hopkins University to study Molecular & Cellular Biology and Medicine, Science, & the Humanities.

Beatrice Amarante
Beatrice Amarante. Photo courtesy of Beatrice Amarante

Beatrice Amarante
St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY

As a high school student in Sao Paolo, Brazil, Beatrice was aware that problems that plaguing the favelas or low-income neighborhoods near the city included high crime, limited access to electricity, and the environmental hazard of proliferating discarded car batteries. She came up with a way to address all of these problems at once: knowing that while not enough charge remained in discarded batteries to run a car, enough remained to power a light, she developed a mobile street light run by the charge that remained in the old batteries that could be used to light dark streets and make residents less vulnerable to crime. The 180 mobile light poles she produced (with volunteers she recruited) from two tons of recycled batteries that would have otherwise been disposed of as trash made nine poor neighborhoods in favelas outside of Sao Paolo more safe, reducing crime there by over 70%. Beatrice is a freshman at St. Francis College.

Benjamin Chan
Benjamin Chan. Photo Courtesy of Benjamin Chan

Benjamin Chan
The Bronx High School of Science, Bronx, NY

Realizing traditional methods of cancer diagnosis that rely on visual inspection by pathologists are slow, inefficient and often inaccurate, Benjamin created a digital pathology toolkit to produce results that were 89% more accurate than those produced by traditional methods. Benjamin’s method will enable artificial intelligence-based cancer diagnoses that will save lives by providing patients with access to early, accurate diagnoses, and therefore effective treatment. Benjamin will attend University of Pennsylvania to study Systems Engineering with a Concentration in Decision Science.

Brooke Dunefsky
Brooke Dunefsky. Photo Courtesy of Brooke Dunefsky

Brooke Dunefsky
Irvington High School, Irvington, NY

When she interned in a stroke rehabilitation center, Brooke observed that the typical rehabilitation process involves very expensive equipment with advanced technology that is often hard for patients to use, and also must be used on-site in the rehabilitation center. To address these challenges, Brooke developed a device that implements neuroscience-based principles of rehabilitation which costs under $100 to build and is easier for patients to calibrate and use than the current equipment. The highly-affordable device, which patients can use at home, was awarded a full patent by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Brook is a rising high school senior.

Audrey Larson
Audrey Larson. Photo Courtesy of Audrey Larson

Audrey Larson
Lyman Hall High School, Wallingford, CT

Skeptical that the problem of school shootings will be successfully addressed by a political solution any time soon, Audrey decided to tackle the problem through engineering. She invented Safe KIDS, a bulletproof wall system that can help protect students and teachers in the event of a shooting at their school. The bulletproof barrier would unobtrusively fold against a classroom wall, but could easily fold out from the wall to protect students. Its deployment would also automatically trigger notification of the police and warn other classrooms and staff in the school. Audrey will study Materials Science Engineering and Management Engineering at the University of Connecticut.

Neel Jain
Neel Jain. Photo Courtesy of Neel Jain

Neel Jain
Westview High School, Portland, OR

Since he knew that his grandmother was in the highest risk category for COVID-19, and that a simple trip to the grocery store could become life-threatening, Neel helped deliver groceries to her at the onset of the pandemic. He soon realized how many other senior citizens nearby were in the same predicament, and organized a nonprofit, PDX Concierge, run by high school students to deliver food, prescriptions, and other essentials free of charge to senior citizens and others for whom simple tasks incurred high COVID-19 risk. Streamlining the fulfillment of requests through a website and an online ap and partnering with local food banks, Neel’s PDX Concierge made it possible for over 100 high school student volunteers to make over 600 deliveries in seven cities in Oregon. Neel is a rising senior in high school in Portland.

Krupa Sekhar
Krupa Sekhar. Photo Courtesy of Krupa Sekhar

Krupa Sekhar
Hunter College High School, New York, NY

Troubled by the race-related and gender-related health disparities rampant in almost every disease, with little biological research as to why, Krupa developed a novel methodology to discover treatable biological causes of health disparities using epigenetics to bridge the gap between minority populations and accessible medical resources. Applying her methodology first to pancreatic cancer, Krupa found biological causes for population disparities between male and female patients (males have a significantly higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer ), and between African American and European patients (African Americans have a significantly higher risk of developing pancreatic cancer than any other race). Krupa hopes her research methodology can help reduce disparities by promoting earlier diagnosis in at-risk populations in the future. Krupa plans on majoring in both Human Biology and Race Studies.

Richard So
Richard So. Photo Courtesy of Richard So

Richard So
Staten Island Technical High School, Staten Island, NY

Richard knew that oil drilling in Arctic Alaska was seriously disrupting migration patterns of wild caribou, a significant food source for many native Alaskan communities. But methods currently being used to gauge the impact of the drilling on this species (human analysis of untold hours of video), was time-consuming and inefficient. Richard constructed a robust, camera image caribou detection system using artificial intelligence and algorithms to accelerate Alaskan wildlife research, and provide environmentalists with the data needed to argue against policies that decimate this important species. Richard plans to major in computer science in the College of Computing at Georgia Institute of Technology.

2021 Honorable Mentions:

Barry Brooks
Barry Brooks. Photo Courtesy of Barry Brooks

Brooks Barry
Stanford Online High School, Redwood City, CA

Inspired by a love of books and reading, Brooks was determined to put books into the hands of children who did not have any. At eight years old, Brooks founded a book club that evolved into Wonderland BookSavers, a student-managed children's book-donation charity dedicated to promoting childhood literacy throughout the world. Since its inception, Wonderland BookSavers has provided 825,000 books to half a million children from 19 countries on four continents. Brooks’ innovative approach is inspiring children everywhere to “Realize the magical awesomeness of reading!” Brooks is a rising high school senior who lives in Southport, Connecticut.

Andre Borde
Forest Hills High School, Forest Hills, NY

Concerned by the Kessler Syndrome, which describes the phenomenon of nonoperational satellites losing control and crashing into other satellites — creating debris fields in the process that can crash into more satellites — Andre designed a technology to capture and deorbit obsolete CubeSats in low Earth orbit (LEO), thus significantly mitigating the growing problem of space debris. Andre will attend University of Michigan to study Engineering and Computer Science.

Nazira Davroni
Nazira Davroni. Photo Courtesy of Nazira Davroni

Nazira Davroni
50th Comprehensive Secondary School, Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Having experienced first-hand how incredibly daunting the college application process can be for first-generation/low-income students, Nazira created a mobile app that helps them navigate college applications with the help of resources, mentorship, and community. In its beta-testing stage, First2College has increased every user’s understanding of the college application process. Nazira will attend Barnard College of Columbia University to study Human Rights and Anthropology.

Ella Moore
Ella Moore. Photo Courtesy of Ella Moore

Ella Moore
Greenwich High School, Greenwich, CT

As the COVID-19 infection rate and death toll rose, Ella began investigating the use of R-954 as a bradykinin 1 receptor antagonist to inhibit respiratory complications caused by the virus. Ella hopes that her continued research will provide evidence that leads to new treatments that will help reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths as the pandemic continues. Ella is a rising high school senior.