Los Gatos teen Sabera Talukder, 16, is one of 15 youths or teams from around the world who are finalists in the Google Science Fair competition.
Talukder, a junior at , made it to the top of the elite contest by creating a project about water purification for Third World countries.
"People are dying because there is no low-cost portable solution for clean drinking water. The top 40 waterborne diseases kill 3.4 million people every year, mostly children," Talukder wrote in her report that's posted on the competition's website.
In Bangladesh while visiting her father's family, Talukder said she collected water in July of 2011 and tested the samples to find out why children were getting sick. Her results revealed the top diseases that were making them ill, such as several bacterial, parasitic, viral and protozoal infections.
She then created a water purification system that consists of a jute bag filled with clay and sand to filter solid material, brass or copper mesh to hold the bag and kill the larvae, a UVc germicidal light to kill bacteria and a power system consisting of 30-watt solar panels to power the UVc light bulb. The system was made with less than $25.
"My goal is to cheaply and portably purify water for developing countries," she wrote.
The online science competition accepts science project applications from thousands of students across the world who are between 13 and 18 years old.
The finalists—seven from the United States, three from India and one each from Canada, Malta, Spain, Ukraine and Swaziland will learn on July 23 who will be the winners.