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Cosmos Student of the Week: Nikhil Wagher (Fox 18)

Nikhil In honor of the TV series "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" that airs on Your Fox 18 every Sunday night, we're recognizing local science scholars with our "Cosmos Student of the Week"

This week's featured student is Nikhil Wagher, a Rivermont Collegiate student who is really aiming high with his interest in science and engineering.

"I do a lot of stuff. I'm in aviation class, I build stuff, as you can see I built an airplane," Wagher said.

It's an airplane the 13-year-old can actually sit in. It was built from scratch and his own design, learning from trial and error as he went.

"It took me about three weeks combined hours to built it, design it and test it," Wagher said.

He says he's not much into flying - just creating:

"I started out with a scooter with cardboard wings, I was in fourth grade, drove off the stoop, got a bloody knee and couldn't quite figure out why it didn't fly," he recalled.

Of the many projects he's worked on, this latest one soars to new heights, at least briefly:

"I jumped out and ran, jumped back in and pulled up the elevator like this that way the air deflected and it popped up in the air and landed it. All in this shed," he said.

Wagher's one-man plane won Grand Champion in the junior high physical science category at the State Science Fair of Iowa, and several other awards.

It also got him nominated to be the Cosmos Student of the Week.

"That was a complete surprise," Wagher said.

And now, he sees his future taking flight.

"I really, really want to go to MIT," he said. "I just want to be an aeronautical engineer."

He hopes to work for Boeing someday. But, for now, he's building planes on his own. His next one, he says, will be a bigger one, made out of aluminum.

"I'm not some crazy smart guy. I just followed what I like to do," he said.

Fox 18 congratulates Nikhil Wagher for being our Cosmos Student of the Week.

If you know a local student who excels at science that you think should be a Cosmos Student of the Week, just fill out the nomination form on our website.

The TV series "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" airs every Sunday at 8 p.m. on Your Fox 18.

We will be featuring a different science scholar every week in our newscast immediately after the show.

(See original story on the Fox-18 website).

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