Serena Mulligan of Milford was awarded the 2014 Dr. Robert L. Bernard Memorial Prize for Promise for a Musician Entering a Healing Science at the Spring Concert of the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras on Sunday, May 18, at the Klein Memorial Auditorium.

Serena is a violinist in the Principal Orchestra. She will attend University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall as a major in biochemistry with the goal of becoming a pediatric surgeon.

The award recognizes the relationship between a classical music education in childhood and an aptitude for science and math in adulthood. Eligible for the 2014 award were high school seniors who played for two or more seasons with the ensembles of the Greater Bridgeport Youth Orchestras and are matriculated at a college for the fall 2014 semester with a major in a healing science.

The Chelsam Foundation is a private, non-profit charitable trust established in 1998 in memory of Dr. Robert L. Bernard, a beloved podiatric surgeon who lost his battle with cancer at age thirty-six.

The 2014 Dr. Robert L. Bernard Memorial Prize for Promise for a Musician Studying a Healing Science was conceived by Dr. Bernard's daughters, Samantha, a violinist and research assistant in neuroscience and psychology at New York State Psychiatric Institute, and Chelsea, an orchestra alumna and cellist pursuing a B.A. in music education

In naming Serena the recipient, Chelsea said, “Musicians are the finest people I know. They are practical, emotional, driven, mathematical and creative.”

Serena volunteers regularly as a violin teacher, giving the gift of music to children who might otherwise have no access to classical music training. Her dedication to science and healing is clear; she went above and beyond the necessary high school honors curriculum to complete an independent study in hematology and earn outstanding grades and recommendations from her teachers and lab supervisors.