May 11, 2020

Alcoa continues to lead in engineering diversity

Kate Leekong - 2020 Alcoa Bev Corless Women in Engineering Scholarship Recipient
Kate Leekong is the 2020 Alcoa Bev Corless Women in Engineering Scholarship recipient.

Resources company Alcoa has awarded another women-in-engineering scholarship — continuing its longstanding leadership in driving diversity and equality in the profession.

Nineteen-year-old Kate Leekong, from the Perth suburb of Kallaroo, has taken out the 2020 Alcoa Bev Corless Women in Engineering Scholarship, which will support her chemical engineering studies at Curtin University.

Kate said the $5,000 one-year scholarship would enable her to focus more on her studies, which not only included a Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical Engineering) but also a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance).

“Alcoa is helping to take the weight of educational expenses off my shoulders,” she said. “As engineering is a very practical, hands-on degree, the (scholarship) will alleviate the financial strain of compulsory protective equipment, technical resources and textbooks.”

Kate said the scholarship also provided a vital opportunity to kick-start her engagement with an industry associated with her future career path and with a potential employer.

“Receiving this scholarship has given me a boost of confidence in both myself and my development as a professional engineer,” she said. “It is extremely encouraging to know that such a highly regarded company believes in me and wants to actively support me in my journey to become a chemical engineer.”

Alcoa, which operates bauxite mines and alumina refineries in the south west of WA, was the first company to initiate scholarships for women studying engineering at Curtin 15 years ago – a move that inspired other companies to offer similar opportunities.

The scholarships, named in honour of a former Alcoa engineer, aim to encourage and support females studying full-time who are enrolled in their second, third, fourth or fifth year of studies in an engineering degree at Curtin.

Curtin University Director of Admissions and Scholarships Damon Wasserman said Alcoa had consistently demonstrated its commitment to building a female engineering workforce.

“The Bev Corless Scholarship provides for financial and industry experience support of women entering the engineering profession,” he said. “The support from Alcoa helps produce graduates who are job ready and enter the workforce with practical experience to complement their learning.”

Alcoa of Australia Corporate Affairs Director Jodie Read said the Company was committed to providing a supportive community and workplace that fostered and valued the strength and opportunity that came from diversity.

More information about the Alcoa Bev Corless Women in Engineering Scholarship is available via the scholarship page on the Curtin University website – here.


Media contact:

Jane McGuire, Senior Communications Advisor,, 0410 694 676

Mika Sangalli, Senior Communications Adviser,, 0410 774 424

Editor’s note:

About Alcoa in Australia

Alcoa has a proud history in Australia which it hopes to continue by remaining internationally competitive, attracting ongoing investment and providing jobs for future generations.

  • Alcoa’s Australian operations have been contributing to the nation’s economy since 1963, investing more than $12 billion over 56 years.
  • More than 65 per cent of the annual revenue for Alcoa’s Australian operations stays in Australia through wages, local purchasing, taxes, royalties and dividends to Australian shareholders.
  • Alcoa employs more than 4,250 people in Australia. About 3,770 live in WA.
  • In our 56 years, Alcoa has taken on more than 2000 apprentices, trainees and graduates.
  • In 2018, Alcoa’s Australian operations:
    • Invested $1.86 billion with more than 1550 Australian suppliers.
    • Paid $668 million in Australian wages, salaries and associated benefits.
    • Paid more than $690 million in State, Federal and Local government taxes and royalties.
    • Made $4 million in community contributions. 

About Alcoa Corporation
Alcoa (NYSE: AA) is a global industry leader in bauxite, alumina and aluminium products, and is built on a foundation of strong values and operating excellence dating back more than 130 years to the world-changing discovery that made aluminium an affordable and vital part of modern life. Since developing the aluminium industry, and throughout the company’s history, talented employees have followed on with breakthrough innovations and best practices that have led to efficiency, safety, sustainability and stronger communities wherever we operate. Visit us online on, follow @Alcoa on Twitter and on Facebook at