Maya Ajmera is the President and CEO of Society for Science & the Public (the Society) and Publisher of its award-winning magazine, Science News. Founded in 1921, the Society works to promote the understanding and appreciation of science and the vital role it plays in human advancement. It is best known for its world-class science competitions, including the Regeneron Science Talent Search, Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and Broadcom MASTERS.
As an alumna of the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, now sponsored by Regeneron, Maya has helped to transform the nearly 100-year-old Society into a dynamic, entrepreneurial organization. During her second year as President and CEO, Maya spearheaded a $100 million, 10-year sponsorship for the Science Talent Search with Regeneron. In addition, Maya has brought Science News Media Group from a decade long deficit into a bullish enterprise by developing a new education pillar and diversifying SN Media Group’s income stream. She has also founded a new series of outreach and equity programs to reach more underserved STEM students in the United States with an $11 million investment.
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 nearly $40 million to more than 700 grassroots organizations in 80 countries, touching the lives of nearly 10 million children.
Maya is also an award-winning children’s book author of more than 20 titles, including Every Breath We Take, Children from Australia to Zimbabwe, and To Be a Kid, with more than 5 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 STEM education, 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 Show, Financial Times, NPR, and many others.
Maya is a board member for Echoing Green, Kids in Need of Defense, Sibley Memorial Hospital and the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Foundation. 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.