HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. (CBS) — Krisha Jivani, a senior at Conant High School in Hoffman Estates, is one of 15 finalists in the world competing in the “Breakthrough Junior Challenge.”

The annual competition involves creating a video that brings to life a concept or theory in life sciences, physics or math.

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“I picked magnetic levitation,” she said. “A physics topic because I felt like I could do something cool with special effects with physics.”

It all started when Krisha got an email about the competition.

Fast forward and it could lead to a big payoff, not just for her but for Conant and one of her favorite teachers.

“It’s a $250,000 scholarship for the student,” she said. “Their school gets a $100,000 lab built, like a science lab. The teacher the would nominate would get $50,000 as well. I’m hoping that this will inspire other people, not just girls but like students in general, to just try things and hope for the best and put all their effort.”

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Rich Cortez has been a computer science teacher at Conant for 26 years, and he’s taught Krisha since she was a freshman. He’s ecstatic about her future.

“I’m amazingly proud,” he said. “You are one of the kids that I saw grow from that time as a freshman that I knew that you weren’t into computer science. And I thought you might’ve dropped. You continued on, and you persevered. And you have grown into this young woman that is going to change the world. And I am so glad to be a part of it.”

Krisha will find out by Nov. 3 if she has won the competition. It’s up to a panel of experts.

She’s down to the finals out of 11,000 entries.

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She is looking at a future in chemical engineering and computer science.