Marasco & Nesselbush, LLP, Awards $5,000 in Scholarships to Winners of Brain Injury Prevention PSA Video Contest


Seven innovative young people from Southern New England have received college scholarships totaling $5,000 for creating winning public service announcements about brain injury prevention in a competition held by our Injury and Disability law firm of Marasco & Nesselbush, LLP.

Our Brain Injury Prevention Scholarship Contest provided an opportunity for college students and college-bound high school students to create awareness videos about the issue of traumatic brain injuries and other brain disorders. The applicants’ original 30-second PSA videos each dealt with one of three topics: “Concussions/Head Injuries: Think Fast,” “A Day in the Life of Someone with a Brain Injury” and “Compassion for Caregivers.”

A combination of social media voting and scoring by a panel of community judges determined the winners. The panel included the Brain Injury Association of Rhode Island’s Elizabeth Connallon, Dr. Suriya Jeyapalan of Tufts Medical Center, the President/Founder of the Rhode Island Brain and Spine Tumor Foundation, Dr. Prakash Sampath and our firm’s partner, Donna M. Nesselbush.

“We offer our heartfelt congratulations to the talented young women and men who created the winning brain injury awareness videos, and we offer our thanks to everyone who participated in this worthy effort,” said firm co-founder and partner, Donna M. Nesselbush.

Marasco & Nesselbush awarded seven scholarships totaling $5,000 to winners in the three states the firm serves – Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. The winners are:

  • Katherine Marie Henao, first-place winner of the $1,000 scholarship in Rhode Island. Henao is a freshman at Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I. Her video focused on the importance of wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle, bicycle or skateboard, as well as the need to seek immediate medical attention if signs of a concussion arise after an accident.
  • Benjamin Dussault, first-place winner of the $1,000 scholarship in Massachusetts. Dussault is a freshman at University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he majors in English with a minor in film studies. His video dealt with the cognitive, emotional and behavioral issues many brain injury victims face – and the need for compassion on the part of caregivers.
  • Heather Griffin, first-place winner of the $1,000 scholarship in Connecticut. Griffin is a senior at Canton High School in Canton, Conn. Griffin herself suffered a severe concussion while rehearsing for a school show during her junior year. Her video featured other young people who had concussions, and included details about their accidents, symptoms, lost school time and how they overcame their injuries.
  • Thomas O’Connor, second-place winner of the $500 scholarship in Massachusetts. O’Connor is a senior at Pope John XXIII High School in Lynn, Mass. Head injuries among athletes was the focus of his entry.
  • Isabella Husu and Emily Betterton, second-place winners of $500 scholarships in Connecticut. Husu is a senior at Stamford High School and plans to attend the University of Connecticut, Storrs. Through her submission, she urged concussion victims to “think fast” and seek medical treatment. Betterton is a senior at Granby Memorial High School in North Granby, Conn. Her video described what concussions are, how they happen, the effects they produce and how they are treated.
  • Leslie Tapia-Bernal, first-place winner of the juniors $500 scholarship. Tapia-Bernal is a junior at Oliver Wolcott Technical High School in Torrington, Conn., and she also attends the Connecticut Academy for the Arts. The subject of her video was brain injuries caused by falls.

Nesselbush said she was inspired by the videos and the insightful messages they conveyed about the serious problem of traumatic brain injuries and other brain disorders – including the personal experiences of several applicants. “All of the participants used creativity and compassion to help raise awareness of the obstacles faced by those living with brain injuries and those who care for them,” she said.

Donna Nesselbush with the winners of the 1st Annual Brain Injury Prevention Scholarship Winners
Attorney Donna Nesselbush with Benjamin Dussault and Katherine Henao