Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

Haris A. Durrani
Columbia University


Haris A. Durrani is a sophomore at Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science, where he is an Egleston Scholar. This Summer 2012, he is working two jobs. The first is as a research intern at Columbia's Robotics Lab, on a B.C.I. (Brain Computer Interface) wheelchair/mobile-manipulator and robotic arm project. He is also working at Scholastic, Inc. for The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers as the Editor for the annual anthology The Best Teen Writing of 2012, which will be published Fall 2012 (available on Amazon).

He has been published in The Best Teen Writing of 2010 and 2011 and was interviewed thrice on John Hockenberry’s NPR show The Takeaway about writing, multiculturalism, and youth issues. His engineering-focused novelettes "The Photosynthesis of Living Engines" and “Tethered" were Semifinalists at the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest, one of the most esteemed competitions for budding talent in the field of science fiction.

At Columbia, Haris plans to major in Applied Physics and minor in MESAAS (Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies), and hopes to later study the monitoring and prevention of space debris. 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 increasingly globalized world.

Previously, 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 2011 after placing as a runner-up in 2009 and 2010. In 2011 he was selected out of 185,000 contestants internationally to receive the Writing Portfolio Gold from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, for which he earned a $10,000 scholarship. At Carnegie Hall, the program also awarded him a Creativity & 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. He was featured in his home town as a “Top Teen to Watch” by Westport Magazine. Haris enjoys squash, Ultimate Frisbee, bike riding, and snowboarding and is an avid science fiction fan, particularly of Columbia alum Dr. Isaac Asimov.

Columbia University Applied Physics & Applied Mathematics Newsletter (PDF)
Article on Haris Durrani, Page 2