Students Recognized for Creativity and Innovation

Next Deadline for Applications: April 30, 2016

Milton Fisher Scholarship for Innovation and Creativity Awarded to 11; Honorable Mention to 7

Next Deadline for Applications: April 30, 2016

New Haven, CT (September 14, 2015) - The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, the region's largest grantmaker and charitable endowment, announces the winners of the Milton Fisher Scholarship for Innovation and Creativity for students who came up with distinctive solutions to problems faced by their schools, communities, and families.

A large number of extraordinary applications were received this year. While each application submitted for consideration highlighted a creative project, scholarships were awarded to the candidates whose innovative and distinctive projects had the most likely potential impact. In total, eleven four-year scholarships and seven honorable mentions totaling $107,500 were awarded.

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 2016 is April 30th. Potential applicants should consult the listings of past winners at and may apply online at

For more information, please email or contact Denise Canning at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven at 203-777-7076 or

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 awarded over $22 million in grants and distributions in 2014 from an endowment of more than $460 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 encourage better understanding of the region. For more information about The Community Foundation, visit, find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at

2015 Winners

Antonia Ayres-Brown (Hopkins School, New Haven, CT) Antonia resented the fact that McDonald's forced children to conform to gender stereotypes by referring to toys in their Happy Meals as "girl toys" and "boy toys" and asking families to choose which they preferred—a practice McDonald's denied. Antonia conducted an experiment to prove otherwise and led a successful campaign to get the McDonald's Corporation to officially change their policy. They now allow children to choose the toy they prefer without reference to gender. She plans to double major in gender studies and theatre studies at Yale.

Annie Blumenfeld (Fairfield Warde High School, Fairfield, CT) Distressed to learn that the adorable shaggy dog she adopted suffered from a painful disease that was expensive to treat—and also totally preventable—Annie decided to educate the public about heartworm. After founding an organization to promote heartworm awareness, she succeeded in getting information about heartworm added to dog licenses in Connecticut. She also painted and sold a series of portraits of people's dogs to support shelter animals' medical needs. She is currently a high school junior.

Andrea Gonzales (Hunter College High School, New York, NY) Andrea used the computer skills she acquired through Girls Who Code to try to remove some of the stigma, silence, and invisibility associated with menstruation. Andrea co-created a video game called "Tampon Run," which playfully replaces the hypersexualized women avatars common to the world of gaming with spunky, tampon-wielding girls, thereby chipping away at "menstrual taboo" in American society. She is currently a high school junior.

Emma Goodman (Greenwich High School, Greenwich, CT). Emma got interested in antibiotic resistance and wound healing after her grandmother almost died from an infected wound. Knowing that silver was effective in small doses for treating wounds, but that in large doses it was toxic, Emma tried blending silver with manuka honey to create a wound treatment that was just as effective as silver but with lower toxicity. Her experiment was a success. She plans to study cognitive science at Yale.

David Li (Commack High School, Commack, New York) The damage to landlines, cell phone service, and internet connections that often accompanies natural disasters can put individuals who depend on at-home durable medical equipment such as dialysis machines, ventilators, and cardiac monitors at great risk. David developed a novel, effective, and potentially life-saving Durable Medical Equipment tracker involving ad hoc radio networks formed among devices at a patient's home to allow information about their medical equipment to be transmitted to and from a local hospital. He is a currently a high school junior.

Erica Lin (Hunter College High School, New York, NY). Family members' struggles with cancer helped prompt Erica to learn more about the disease. She applied insights into the EMT (Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition) phenomenon from a biology class to laboratory research in the field of perineural invasion (the process by which cancer cells invade nerves). She uncovered a connection that had not been recognized before and that could have important implications for treating cancer. She plans to major in health and human biology at Brown University.

Jazz Munitz (Hendrick Hudson High School, Montrose, NY) Jazz was long intrigued with the potential of nanoparticles to play a key role in cancer treatment. Melding technology, biology, and ingenuity, he developed and tested elegant and simply tiny nanoscale drug delivery structures that could lead to low-cost, effective cancer treatments. He plans to be a pre-med/bioethics major at Cornell University, with a minor in business and/or psychology.

Shiva Nathan (Westford Academy, Westford, MA) Shiva's cousin had lost her arms in an accident; but the prosthetic arms she was given were expensive and hard to use. Inspired by her problems, Shiva developed an innovative, low-cost, open-source, high-quality prosthetic arm designed to improve the quality of life of amputees like his cousin. The microcontroller-based prosthesis he designed is controlled by a user's thoughts, and represents a complex integration of hardware and software. The brainwave-controlled prosthetic hand and arm are easy to use and inexpensive to manufacture. Shiva is currently a high school junior.

Jillian Noyes (Old Saybrook High School, Old Saybrook, CT). Jillian's personal struggles with Asperger's Syndrome and her father's struggle with depression and mental instability helped Jillian realize how little understanding there was of mental illness in her community. The moving and powerful short documentary she produced about mental illness in Connecticut, which included on-camera interviews with people dealing with mental illness themselves, helped break down prevalent myths, educate the public, and build awareness about a set of issues society often prefers to bury under the rug. She plans to study at Connecticut College.

Peter Russell (Greenwich High School, Greenwich, CT) During a high school band trip to Cuba, Peter was struck by the lack of infrastructure in the country his grandparents had once called home. He developed a phone charger that would take advantage of one resource that is abundantly available on the island: sunlight. The powerful solar charger he invented (which has a capacity of 80.5% of an iPhone 3G battery) uses a new type of capacitor that leverages advanced materials for improved flexibility and functionality, and can charge 20% of maximum voltage after only one minute in sunlight. He plans to study electrical engineering at Princeton University.

Neil Suri (Hackley School, Tarrytown, NY). As a saxophone player in his school band, Neil was well aware of the extent to which the reeds in wind instruments served as breeding grounds for bacteria that posed known health risks to musicians. He played a key role in developing a reed sanitizing cap—a device that attaches to the mouthpiece of a wind instrument to protect and sanitize reeds. He is currently a high school junior.

Honorable Mentions

Mishelle Andersen (Hill Regional Career High School, New Haven, CT) started an art club in her school to create art for local hospice patients. She plans to study biology at The University of Connecticut.

Justin Fargiano (Bethel High School, Bethel, CT) engaged his entire community in the arts by creating a recurring, massive festival, which showcases student photography, film and digital media in his town. He plans to study film at New York University.

Kemani Harriott (Classical Magnet School, Hartford, CT) produced a compelling short documentary about human trafficking in Connecticut. She plans to study physical therapy at the University of Hartford.

Karam Lyons (Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, Baltimore, MD) built inexpensive 3D-printed prosthetic hands that would be especially useful for children suffering from Amniotic Band Syndrome. He plans to study at New York University.

Anubhuti Mathur (Glastonbury High School, Glastonbury, CT) conducted innovative research on the ability of an antioxidant found in green tea to arrest the progressive degeneration of cartilage among osteoarthritis patients. She plans to study Columbia University.

Katarina Poynor (Brewster High School, Brewster, NY) experimented with a glove containing non-Newtonian fluids that could help protect construction workers from getting Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. She plans to study at Binghamton University – State University of New York.

Shayan Roychoudhury (Daniel Hand High School, Madison, CT) conducted an innovative experiment using technology used in auto shock absorbers (ferro-fluids) to make a prosthetic finger more flexible, responsive, and lifelike. He plans to study biomedical engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

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Media Contact:

Tricia Caldwell
Director of Communications
The Community Foundation
for Greater New Haven