‘Brilliant.’ This Lexington high school senior won $60,000 for her research project.

Lexington high school senior Rachel Seevers won $60,000 Tuesday night in a national contest for a research project that she hopes could make air travel safer.

Rachel, a student at Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, was eighth among the top 10 winners in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, said Chelsea Roth, a spokeswoman for the competition.

“I created a new airplane wing... it uses high speed air to improve the efficiency of a plane up to 21 percent, “ Rachel, 17, told the Herald-Leader moments after being honored Tuesday night at a black-tie gala ceremony at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. The Talent Search is a program of the Society for Science & The Public.

“She is a motivated and brilliant young scientist, and we look forward to seeing the impact her research has on advancements in aerospace and aviation,” said Maya Ajmera, President and CEO of Society for Science & the Public and Publisher of Science News.

The winners were selected from about 2,000 applicants, all of whom completed an original scientific research project and underwent an extensive application process and judging by leading scientists.

With a closely related project, Rachel said she won the best project overall both at this year’s Central Kentucky Regional Science and Engineering Fair and the Kentucky American Water District Science Fair in Lexington.

In her spare time, Rachel said she leads outreach projects to get more females involved in science, technology, engineering and math.

Rachel said she’s going to use the $60,000 winnings from her Regeneron Science Talent Search ‘virtual winglet’ project to pay for college, to continue her engineering education, “and hopefully continue on with this research as well.”

She also has a dream of becoming the national secretary of defense.

Rachel said she has not decided on a college yet, but “I definitely want to study engineering because that’s really what my project is all about and I love being able to create and innovate.”