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Dunbar High School MSTC student one of 40 finalists for nation’s oldest science and math competition

Rachel Seevers of Paul Laurence Dunbar High School is among 40 finalists in the 2019 Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. She was selected based on the originality and creativity of her scientific research, as well as her achievement and leadership inside and outside the classroom.

“I created a new airplane wing that uses high-speed air to improve the efficiency and stability of the entire aircraft,” said Rachel, whose project is titled “The Virtual Winglet: A Novel Approach to Boundary Layer Manipulation and Wingtip Vortex Suppression.”

Rachel Seevers (Photo from FCPS)

Rachel is in the Math, Science & Technology Center special program at Dunbar, where she is director of community outreach for Dunbar Girls in STEM and active in the French Club, Science National Honor Society, and French Honor Society. She also spends much of her time conducting research. Rachel is undecided on her college destination but plans to major in mechanical engineering with an emphasis on aerospace engineering.

As a finalist in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, Rachel is guaranteed at least $25,000; the top 10 awards will range from $40,000 to $250,000. She was ecstatic when she learned she made the cut. “It’s like going to the Olympics!” she said. “I’ve been dreaming of this since middle school. I really thought it was impossible, honestly. Just to be considered a semifinalist was incredible and to be named a finalist was amazing. When I got the call, I was crying – Is this real? I thought it was a dream! It’s honestly the biggest accomplishment of my life so far.”

Kentucky has produced only four finalists in the past 40 years. But this year, the Commonwealth boasts Rachel and a girl from duPont Manual Magnet High School in Louisville. From March 7-13, all the finalists will be in Washington, D.C., for a scrupulous judging process as they compete for more than $1.8 million in awards. They will also interact with leading scientists, meet with members of Congress, and display their projects to the public on March 10 at the National Geographic Society. “We get to be immersed in this really cool scientific climate,” Rachel noted. The top 10 winners will be announced at a March 12 black-tie gala at the National Building Museum.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Society for Science & the Public coordinate the annual competition, which was known as the Westinghouse Science Talent Search from 1942-1997 and the Intel Science Talent Search from 1998-2016. Alumni have gone on to win the Nobel Prize, found successful companies, and invent groundbreaking medical treatments.

The 2019 finalists were selected from a pool of nearly 2,000 highly qualified entrants, all of whom completed an original research project and extensive application process. Earlier in January, the Society and Regeneron named the top 300 scholars, each of whom received $2,000 with an additional $2,000 going to their school. The 40 finalists, who were chosen from that pool, were selected based on their projects’ scientific rigor and their potential to become world-changing scientists.

From Fayette County Public Schools

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