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May 18, 2012

Alcoa Foundation Presents Sustainability Awards to Young Talent at Intel ISEF 2012 Special Awards Ceremony

PITTSBURGH--Alcoa Foundation announced six winners in two award categories, Sustainable Water Management and Sustainable Material Use, at the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), held yesterday in Pittsburgh. Intel ISEF is the world’s largest pre-college science competition showcasing more than 1,500 leading young talent’s independent scientific research projects. The winning students will split $10,000 from Alcoa Foundation for their impressive innovations regarding sustainable use or reuse of water and materials.

The Sustainable Material Use Awards went to:
  • 1st award – William Weili Xu, Princeton High School, New Jersey. His project, titled “Creating and Optimizing Porous Metal Organic Frameworks (MOFs) for the Capture of Carbon Dioxide from Flue Gas Mixtures,” created innovative materials that would serve to capture greenhouse gases before they are emitted from industrial sites into the atmosphere.
  • 2nd award – Polina Kovalenko, Chemical Ecological Lyceum, Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine. Her project, titled “Smart Windows: New Template Synthesis of Thin Nickel Hydroxide Film for Electrochromic Devices,” developed a thin Nickel Hydroxide film with excellent adhesive properties which when applied to a window enables it to lighten and darken as desired with the application of a current.
  • 3rd award – Jennifer Colon and Asuwie M. Serrano, Luis Munoz Marin High School, Barranquitas, Puerto Rico. Their project, titled “Volcano of Energy,” developed an aluminum cone-shaped structure to collect and concentrate the sun’s energy and convert it to electricity through directed air flow.


“Alcoa Foundation has a continued commitment to innovation and education that underscores the importance of sustainable development,” stated Paula Davis, President, Alcoa Foundation. “We are proud to present these awards which help encourage students worldwide to explore their passion for innovation and create solutions for global challenges.”

“We were very surprised by the warmth, inclusion and acceptance of people from different cultures at the ISEF competition,” said Emily Mudder, Avon High School, Avon South Dakota. “We have had the best time of our lives meeting new friends and learning how many others are as excited by science as we are. We really appreciate the support of industrial sponsors to encourage us to pursue our scientific interests.”

The recipients of the Sustainable Water Management Awards are:
  • 1st award - Maya Braun and Avishai Ketko, Moshe Sharet High School, Netanya, Israel. Their project, titled, “Solar Water Purification Using Drop Technology System,” demonstrated the feasibility of using a low cost, portable solar concentrator to disinfect water droplet streams at a rate of 6 liters of water per hour.
  • 2nd award – Allison Roth and Emily Mudder, Avon High School, Avon, South Dakota. Their project, titled, “Using Colorimetry to Monitor Nickel Contamination of Water,” developed a real-time method for monitoring dissolved metal contamination in water streams.
  • 3rd award – Gal Oren and Nerya Stroh, JCT Torah & Science Yeshiva High School, Jerusalem, Israel. Their project, “A Device for Detection and Discontinuation of Leakages in Domestic Water Supply Systems,” resulted in a patented active response control device to minimize domestic water leaks.


The two awards are aligned with Alcoa and Alcoa Foundation’s focus on improving the environment and preparing individuals for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Math (STEM) and manufacturing.

For Alcoa, water is an important raw material, with the major uses occurring in the refining and ingot-casting processes. Across Alcoa’s operations, employees work to ensure water efficiency, but place an even greater focus on conservation in regions where water availability is most sensitive. In addition, Alcoa recognizes the need to make efficient use of all raw materials and natural assets. For example, Alcoa reduced its freshwater-use intensity (consumption per unit of production) by 21% versus 2005 levels, exceeding the 2020 goal of a 10% reduction. The new goals are to achieve a 25% improvement in freshwater-use intensity by 2020 and 30% by 2030 versus 2005 levels.

This year’s competition was held in Pittsburgh to support the emerging technology sector in the city and surrounding region.

About Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF)

The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF), a program of Society for Science & the Public, is the world's largest pre-college science competition, and includes high school students from approximately 70 countries, regions and territories. Each year, the finalists showcase their independent research as they compete for more than $3 million in awards. The Intel ISEF encourages millions of students worldwide to explore their passion for innovation and develop solutions for global challenges.

In addition to presenting their research on a global stage, finalists are judged by and interact with doctoral level scientists as they compete for prizes. Each year, more than 400 finalists receive awards and prizes for their groundbreaking research.

Society for Science & the Public, a nonprofit organization dedicated to public engagement in scientific research and education, owns and has administered the International Science and Engineering Fair since its inception in 1950. In 1958, the competition became international for the first time when Japan, Canada and Germany joined. This year’s first time participating countries and regions include Azerbaijan, Finland, Northern Mariana Islands, Poland, Spain, Panama, UAE, Tunisia and Kuwait.

About Alcoa Foundation

Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately US$446 million. Founded more than 50 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than US$550 million since 1952. In 2011, Alcoa Foundation contributed more than US$20 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships, engaging its people to improve the environment and educating tomorrow’s leaders. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa’s thousands of employee volunteers who share their energy, passion and purpose to make a difference in the communities where Alcoa operates. Through the company’s signature Month of Service program, in 2011, a record 56 percent of Alcoa employees took part in more than 1,200 events across 24 countries, reaching 81,000 children, serving 9,000 meals, planting 34,000 trees and supporting 1,800 nonprofit organizations. More information can be found at www.alcoafoundation.com.