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August 4, 2004

Alcoa Foundation Awards MentorNet a $100,000 Two-Year Grant to Support Female Engineers and Scientists

PITTSBURGH--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 4, 2004--Alcoa Foundation today announced it has awarded a $100,000 two-year grant to MentorNet, the e-mentoring network for women in science and engineering, in an effort to increase the number of women engineers and scientists in tomorrow's workforce.

The grant comes at a time when the need for women scientists and engineers is reaching critical levels. The National Science Board (NSB) in Arlington, VA recently reported that there is a disturbing decline in the number of U.S. citizens training to become scientists and engineers, while the number of jobs requiring such training continues to grow. In addition, the NSB reported in its Science and Engineering Indicators 2004 report that the percentage of women who chose math and computer science careers fell 4 percentage points between 1993 and 1999.

"MentorNet has a proven track record of supporting women who are studying to become scientists and engineers," said Kathleen W. Buechel, President and Treasurer of Alcoa Foundation. "This Alcoa Foundation grant has a two-fold return as it supports students in MentorNet's programs, who will in turn strengthen the U.S. workforce and improve the country's ability to compete in the global marketplace."

MentorNet's One-on-One Mentoring Programs provide information, encouragement, and support to female community college, undergraduate, and graduate students, and postdocs who are considering working in industry, government or academia. Proteges are matched in one-on-one e-mentoring relationships with mentors who have work experience in these sectors. MentorNet provides the online infrastructure, extensive network of mentors, and training, coaching and support for eight-month e-mail based mentoring relationships. In addition to supporting mentoring programs, this Alcoa Foundation grant will provide support for MentorNet to sustain and foster partner relationships with corporations, colleges and universities, government agencies and professional societies.

"We are very excited about and grateful for the new opportunities this Alcoa Foundation grant is providing to help MentorNet engage more fully with its current partnering organizations, and reach out to new ones," said Carol B. Muller, Ph.D., MentorNet's founder. "Our online mentoring services will have even greater impact in advancing women in engineering and science as a result."

About Alcoa Foundation

In 2003, Alcoa Foundation made $15 million in grants around the world. Communities where Alcoa has a presence are the primary focus of its grantmaking programs. Through disaster relief grants and employee engagement initiatives like ACTION and Bravo!, additional resources are made available to our communities. The Foundation's grants address global and local needs in Areas of Excellence that include: Conservation and Sustainability, Global Education and Workplace Skills, Business and Community Partnerships and Safe and Healthy Children and Families. For more information about Alcoa Foundation, visit www.alcoa.com, under Community.

About MentorNet

MentorNet, headquartered at San Jose State University in San Jose, California, is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization working to further women's progress in scientific and technical fields through the use of a dynamic, technology-supported mentoring program. MentorNet aims to advance women and society, and enhance engineering and related sciences, by promoting a diversified, expanded and talented workforce. In partnership with colleges and universities, corporations, government labs and agencies and professional societies, MentorNet is international in scope. Major funding is provided by the National Science Foundation, Alcoa Foundation, AT&T Foundation, IBM Corporation, Intel Foundation and Cisco Systems.

About Alcoa

Alcoa (NYSE:AA) is the world's leading producer of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina, and is active in all major aspects of the industry. Alcoa serves the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation and industrial markets, bringing design, engineering, production and other capabilities of Alcoa's businesses to customers. In addition to aluminum products and components, Alcoa also markets consumer brands including Reynolds Wrap(R) foils and plastic wraps, Alcoa(R) wheels, and Baco(R) household wraps. Among its other businesses are vinyl siding, closures, fastening systems, precision castings, and electrical distribution systems for cars and trucks. The company has 120,000 employees in 41 countries and has been a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average for 45 years and the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes since 2001. More information can be found at www.alcoa.com