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COLLIN WILLIAM HARRIS (17) is a winner of the national Tuskegee Airmen
Scholarship Foundation’s $3,000 Abbvie Pharmaceuticals STEM award. He is a 2022
graduate of Dorsey High School with a 4.2 gpa, planning to attend UCLA, USC, Stanford, or
Morehouse majoring in Computer Engineering with a Mechanical Engineering minor. Completing
7 Advanced Placement classes and maintaining Honor Roll status, he was among the 3 top
students of his graduating class, and earned the UCLA Strategic Partnership & Community
Engagement Award for Academic Excellence. Collin’s science teacher stated: “Every lesson,
every topic, Collin puts his best foot forward and acts as a learner not just a student. I have
seen this in 10 th grade in my Chemistry class, in 11 th grade in my Physics class, and now in 12 th
grade in Engineering and AP Computer Science.” “In Engineering he has become a master in
Computer-Aided-Design (CAD) work…independent of the required classwork. It has reached a
point where I look to him for expertise on how to approach designing things—the student has
become the teacher. I believe this is the first time in my entire career that I have had a student
surpass me in such a way.” “Collin pursues excellence even when it is not truly ‘required’…He
includes reasoning, evidence, and insights as a matter of course. It is this quality that has led
me to believe Collin is not only one of the most talented students I have ever seen—he is one
of the only ones to delight in learning itself. This goes hand in hand with how Colin conducts
himself in class. He is always engaged and participating with a smile. He is an absolute delight
to teach and his enthusiasm is infectious.” “He is talented and excels at essentially everything
he applies himself toward, so he has sometimes given himself more work than is humanly
possible with all the extracurricular activities he pursues.”
Licensed Architect and Lead Mentor of the Dorsey HS Architecture Construction Engineering
(ACE) Mentor Program wrote that “Collin has been a tremendous asset to our team through
helping with recruiting as well as playing a strong role in developing the Spring semester
projects. We can always count on Collin to volunteer for an activity and set an example for
others.” “It is incredibly inspiring as a mentor to witness students put so much effort and care
into creating architecture that serves communities …I feel confident that Collin will create
impact in very profound ways and inspire others to do the same.” Additionally, “Outside of ACE,
Collin is involved in numerous organizations and plays strong leadership roles in each. He is the
Lead Developer in a program called Teens Exploring Technology where he does work in
programming product websites, he is Vice-President of the Sport Medicine Club at Dorsey,
Captain of his Track & Field team, and a leadership member of his Student Council.”
His Track & Field credits include City Championship awards for placing 1 st in Long Jump, 1 st in
4x400, 2 nd in 4x100, and 3 rd place in State 4x400 (2021). Collin’s extracurricular activities also
include football, golf, and volunteerism with the Institute of Divine Metaphysical Research
Audio/Video Operational Team (2018-2022), Volunteers of America Upward Bound,
Special Needs Network, Inc., and UCLA CART (Center for Autism Research and Treatment)
events benefitting Autism Spectrum Disorder research. Collin has created vocabulary videos for
children with autism, was winner of the “TXT Demo Day” (Teens Exploring Technology) for his
”Doc Harmony” project (for which he did website coding and implementing of code, design,
scripts), and has a startup tech company working to bridge healthcare disparity gaps in Black
and Brown communities. The Dorsey High Teacher Coordinator remarked regarding Collin,
“While his dedication and hard work are important, what sets Collin apart from his peers, and
most adults for that matter, is the way he makes everyone around him feel seen...He is
undeniably a natural leader and truly something special.”
Collin states that he has “learned to cherish diversity” having been diagnosed with Autism
Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at an early age (effecting developmental delay and speech/language

disorder) with subsequent diagnoses of Asperger’s syndrome, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity
Disorder (ADHD) and Sensory Integration Dysfunction (SID). He refers to the children’s book
“Beautiful Oops” highlighting “how something what looks like an ‘oops’ often times turns out to
be the most beautiful” and “is a reminder that ASD may look like a disability to the world, but to
me it is a super power that drives me to do better and not be defined by stereotypes.”
REGARDING THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN, Collin wrote, “As a child I often tried to find people
of color that I want to be like. African American greats such as: Martin Luther King Jr., Langston
Hughes, Percy Lavon Julian and so many more, and one group that always inspires me were
the brave Tuskegee Airmen. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black pilots to serve in WWII,
who were exceptionally capable and meticulous in their battle tactics. These courageous men
had to fight two wars with all the odds stacked against them: the war against the Power Axis in
Germany and the war against racism in the home country they were fighting to protect. The
Tuskegee Airmen were young men of color who helped their country against communist while
trying to change the mindset of how the African American race would be seen by their fellow
Americans. Growing up, as a person of color and with Autism at an early age, the odds were
stacked against me. It was instilled in me that we are systematically disadvantaged, and this
awareness had me completely discouraged. There's also a massive stigma against people
diagnosed with ASD. Oftentimes, Autistic people are seen as disabled and unable to do the
great things that a ‘regular’ person can. Now as a 17-year-old, aware of the autism spectrum
and the potential that people of color can have in this world, I want to leave behind a legacy
that displays that every person can achieve anything if they stay motivated with their eyes on
achieving their dreams. I have a strong desire to be an inspiration by bridging the gaps
between technology and people of color, removing the disparity that makes it difficult to pursue
this career path. I don't want all the heroic efforts of our ancestors who have fought for
equality to have been in vain and I want to pick up and keep marching us forward.”

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