SMITHTOWN, NY (CBSNewYork) – Rachel Davis said she started crying when she found out she was one of the Intel science competition finalists, which means she could receive a $100,000 scholarship.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall On The Story

She was in a school business club meeting when she got the call.

“It is so much fun doing the research. It’s been such an amazing experience and I’m so happy I was chosen,” she said.

Davis, a senior at Smithtown East High School on Long Island, said her family lost their home in a fire.

After the house burned to the ground, the 18-year-old decided to become a volunteer firefighter, and her project focused on developing a plastic that is both environmentally friendly and nearly flame retardant.

Davis says she hopes to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the fall.

Also in the running for the top prize are three students from New York City, four other students from Long Island, one from Westchester and one from New Jersey.

The finalists include Stuyvesant High School senior Huihui Fan of Staten Island and her classmate, Mimi Yen of Williamsburg, Brooklyn; Bronx High School of Science senior Danielle Goldman; Savina Dine Kim, 17, of Commack High School; Ward Melville High School student Anna Sato of East Setauket; Huntington High School student Juliana Mathea Coraor; Neil Kamlesh Mehta, a student at Jericho Senior High School; White Plains High School student Benjamin Mark Van Doren; and Academy for Medical Science Technology student EunBe Kim from Hackensack, NJ.

All the finalists will travel to Washington D.C. in March where the winner of the $100,000 prize will be announced.

To see the full list of finalists, click here.

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