Science News Dec 30 2015, Spitzer Space Telescope image
JPL-Caltech/NASA, Univ. of Wisconsin

Maya Ajmera

ajmeramaya_300.jpg Maya Ajmera is the President and CEO of Society for Science & the Public (the Society) and Publisher of its award-winning magazine, Science News, and family of media properties. 

As a lifelong science enthusiast and supporter of science education, Maya already had a significant connection to the Society, having been selected in high school as a member of the Honors Group in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search (now known as the Regeneron Science Talent Search) for her project, “Isolation and Characterization of a Tetracycline Resistant Plasmid of an Animal Isolate Streptococcus faecalis, SF2." She earned her A.B. in biology from Bryn Mawr College and M.P.P. from Duke University. 

In 2013-2014, Maya served as the inaugural Social Entrepreneur in Residence for Duke University and Visiting Professor for the Practice of Public Policy at The Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke. From 2011-2014, Maya was a Visiting Scholar and Professorial Lecturer at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at The Johns Hopkins University. She continues to serve as an adjunct on the faculty of the International Development Program and teaches the course, "Social Innovations in International Development for Children and Youth."

In 1993, Maya founded The Global Fund for Children (GFC), a nonprofit organization that invests in innovative, community-based organizations working with some of the world’s most vulnerable children and youth. Under Maya's 18 years of leadership, GFC grew from a vision into one of the largest networks of grassroots organizations working on behalf of vulnerable children. To date, GFC has awarded more than $35 million to more than 600 grassroots organizations in 80 countries, touching the lives of nearly 10 million children.

Maya is also an award-winning children’s book author of nearly 20 titles, including Children from Australia to Zimbabwe, Faith, and To Be a Kid, with more than 3 million readers worldwide.

Maya is a recipient of numerous leadership awards, including the 2011 Henry Crown Fellowship at the Aspen Institute, the Echoing Green Fellowship, the William C. Friday Fellowship for Human Relations, and the Rotary International Graduate Fellowship. She is sought out nationally and internationally to address audiences on local and global philanthropy, global children’s rights, international development, and social entrepreneurship. Her work and life story have been profiled by such media outlets as CNN, The Oprah Winfrey ShowFinancial Times, NPR, and many others. 

Maya serves on the board of visitors of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. She is co-chair of the board of Echoing Green, a trustee of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, and a board member of New Global Citizens and Kids in Need of Defense. She serves on numerous advisory boards and is also an adviser to Mytonomy, an online video Q&A service for college and career planning. In 2008, she served as a member of the Innovation and Civil Society subgroup of the Obama presidential transition’s Technology, Innovation and Government Reform Policy Working Group.

Maya holds an A.B. from Bryn Mawr College and a M.P.P. from the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and daughter.