Prize Recipient


Haris A. Durrani
Columbia University in the City of New York


Haris A. Durrani is a first year student at Columbia University’s Engineering School. He attended Staples High School in Westport, CT, where his interests included robotics, physics, journalism, and creative writing. Haris co-founded his high school’s FIRST Tech Challenge robotics team, which earned its way three times to the international championship, winning First Place in the World in 2011, Second place in 2009, and Third place in 2010.

Senior year, he led and mentored freshmen to continue the team’s legacy. Haris has also pursued a passion for literature. In 2011, he was selected out of 185,000 contestants internationally to receive the Writing Portfolio Gold from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, for which he earned a $10,000 scholarship. At Carnegie Hall, Scholastic also awarded him a Creativity and Citizenship Award, Best-in-Grade Award, three Gold Medals, and a Silver Medal, for his creative writing on issues of diversity, social justice, and multiculturalism.

Haris was published in Best Teen Writing 2010 and 2011 (available this Fall on He was featured locally as a “Top Teen to Watch” by Westport Magazine and interviewed about writing and multiculturalism on John Hockenberry’s NPR show The Takeaway.

Haris enjoys Squash, Ultimate Frisbee, bike riding, and snowboarding, and is an avid science fiction fan, particularly of Columbia alum Dr. Isaac Asimov. At Columbia, he plans to major in Applied Physics. Haris aspires to practice engineering with a heart for the social conscience and to write about science and diversity—disciplines he hopes bear significance in our 21st century, globalized world.

APS Minority Scholarship to Haris Durrani Extended