WEST CHESTER, Pa. — A freshman at Stanford University was just awarded Popular Mechanics' "Next Generation" prize at its Breakthrough Innovator Awards, according to an article on Fast Company.

Megan Shea is an 18-year-old from West Chester who, on a summer science fellowship at Texas Tech University two summers ago, was tasked with an independent project looking into water purification, the article reported.

Shea researched the moringa oleifera, a tropical tree, and found that the seeds were a purification material that had never been developed seriously; so she used PVC piping to make a simple, four-layer water filter using powdered moringa seeds, soil, charcoal and fabric, the article continued.

According to the article, Shea's filter removed 99 percent of bacteria and 70 percent discoloration because the seeds act as a coagulant for unwanted materials.

The filter can be built easily in remote locations, and Shea hopes to help others to use it as either a physical device or a piece of intellectual property, according to the article.

Read the full article here.