Milton Fisher Fund Awards $120,000 in Scholarships

The Milton Fisher Fund awards a total of $120,000 distributed as six four-year scholarships; an additional $2,500 distributed as five honorable mention scholarships.

Six Students Awarded for Creativity and Innovation; Honorable Mention to Five

New Haven, Conn. (October 10, 2019) - The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, the region's largest grantmaker and charitable endowment, announces the winners of the 2019 Milton Fisher Scholarship for Innovation and Creativity. A total of $120,000 in college scholarships (payable over four years of college) was awarded this year to six high school students who came up with distinctive solutions to problems faced by their schools, communities, families and the world. In addition, a total of $2,500 in scholarships was awarded to five high school students receiving honorable mentions.

While each application submitted for consideration highlighted a creative project, scholarships were awarded to the candidates who demonstrated the greatest innovation and whose projects have the most potential impact. The winners were recognized for projects involving the arts, 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 and addressing financial need. Its specific goal is to reward and encourage innovative and creative problem-solving. High school juniors and seniors and college freshmen from Connecticut and the New York metropolitan area are eligible to apply. The application deadline for 2020 is May 1; a complete of set of guidelines and a link to the online application can be found at and For more information, please email or contact Denise Canning at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven at 203-777-7076.

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 awarded $34 million in grants and distributions in 2018 from charitable assets of more than $600 million composed of hundreds of individually named funds. In addition to its grantmaking, The Community Foundation helps build a stronger community by taking measures to improve student achievement, create healthy families in New Haven, promote local philanthropy through® and The Great Give®, and encourage better understanding of the region. The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven'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 and Woodbridge. For more information about The Community Foundation, visit, find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at

2019 Winners

Leon Aharonian

Leon Aharonian (Bronx High School of Science, Bronx, N.Y.) Back pain caused by bad posture can be alleviated only by changing one's habits—a difficult process that requires advanced biofeedback. Recognizing the limitations of existing devices, Leon designed a distinctive Posture Monitoring Shirt that uses artificial intelligence algorithms to provide reliable biofeedback on posture in real time that could benefit individuals, therapists and researchers dealing with the challenge of back pain. He will attend Columbia University.

Jody Bell (Greenwich High School, Greenwich, Conn.) Appreciating the confusion and sense of helplessness felt by many American-born children of undocumented immigrants, Jody created an accessible and easy-to-use website to provide answers and help. "In Case of Deportation" helps children prepare for the possibility that family members may be deported and directs them to local sources of legal and other assistance. She will attend the College of Charleston.

Jody Bell

Sophie Edelstein (Wilbur Cross High School, New Haven, Conn.) Sophie knew that the human airway or trachea can be damaged by infection, cancer, excessive intubation or trauma—but no effective replacement exists for this crucial connective tissue. Sophie's personal experiences with multiple surgeries for hip and leg problems sparked her passionate interest in biomedical research and led her to make important strides towards developing a more functional tracheal replacement graft. She will be studying biomedical engineering at Yale.

Sophie Edelstein

Zhiyuan Li (Freedom High School, Chantilly, Va.) Zhiyuan worried about the fact that existing treatments of chronic wounds and ulcers in an increasingly diabetic and aging population around the globe led to an over-use of antibiotics; but she also knew that the expense of medical-grade honeys that were alternatives to antibiotics disadvantaged low-income communities. She developed a honey from blueberries that had strong anti-microbial power, and patented a low-cost method that can be used to make any honey medical-grade—a new and effective treatment for wounds and inflammation. She plans to study Applied Mathematics at Columbia.

Zhiyuan Li

Samuel Loseff (School Without Walls High School, Washington D.C.) Samuel brought us one step closer to transmitting clean, renewable space-based solar power to earth by using 3D printing to fabricate a microwave antenna that he designed and coated with silver epoxy. He will study materials science and engineering at Columbia.

Samuel Loseff

Sophia Wang (Amity Regional High School, Woodbridge, Conn.) By combining approaches from multiple fields—civil engineering, computer science, artificial intelligence, applied technology, chemistry and mathematics—Sophia developed a novel system of underground sensors for detecting sinkholes prior to collapse. The low-cost, accurate, user-friendly detecting device could help stem the threat that sinkholes pose to both public health and property. Sophia is a junior in high school.

Sophia Wang

2019 Honorable Mentions

Madeline Bale (Clayton High School, St. Louis, Mo.) created, directed, filmed and edited a prize-winning documentary entitled "Menstruation Discrimination," which has been shown nationwide on CSPAN, to explain why the discriminatory "tampon sales tax" must be abolished nationwide. As a result of the impact of her film, she is now working with Missouri politicians to abolish this tax in her state, which especially affects poor women, while men's products like Viagra, Rogaine and shaving cream are not taxed. She plans to major in Economics and Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies at Yale.

Joseph Benedetti (Amity Regional High School, Woodbridge, Conn.) researched how the amount of DNA affects a plant's traits. His research has implications for which species of plants may become most endangered by climate change. Joseph plans to study Civil Engineering at UC-Berkeley.

Gavin A. Krois (Jonathan Law High School, Milford, Conn.) developed a new design for a vertical axis wind turbine that would allow it to operate without causing the fatigue and stress on the system that leads to frequent breakage in current designs. His design could promote the greater use of an important form of sustainable energy. Gavin will attend Stony Brook University.

Annika Morgan (Joel Barlow High School, Redding, Conn.) replaced hydrogen atoms in Ebola vaccines with deuterium, a non-radioactive, naturally-occurring isotope, resulting in an increase in the vaccine's thermostability and shelf life, and making it easier to transport it in hot climates. Annika will study biomedical engineering at Dartmouth.

Cook Shaw (Brooklyn Technical High School, Brooklyn, N.Y.) drew inspiration from videos on modular architecture to design and construct an ingenious modular backpack with removable inserts that could be reconfigured at will, solving the problem of organizing and accessing what he needed as he shuttled between school and the homes of his mom and dad. Cook will study architecture at Cornell.

The Milton Fisher Scholarship is administered by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven in partnership with the Arts Council of Greater New Haven.