In Episode 21 of the Disruptors for Good podcast I speak with Maya Ajmera, the CEO of Society for Science & the Public on solving global problems through investing in world class research, big data, media, and the next generation of scientists.
Maya Ajmera has had an incredible life so far. She is currently the President and CEO of Society for Science & the Public (SSP) and Publisher of its award-winning magazine Science News. Founded in 1921, SSP 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, International Science and Engineering Fair, and Broadcom MASTERS.
In 1993, Maya founded The Global Fund for Children (GFC), a non-profit 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 seedling 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 over 600 grassroots organizations in 80 countries, touching the lives of nearly 10 million children.
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. While at SAIS she wrote a foreign policy book on the global plight of children and youth entitled Invisible Children: Reimagining International Development at the Grassroots (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). 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 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.
Maya is also an award-winning children’s book author of over 20 titles, including Every Breath We Take, Children from Australia to Zimbabwe, Faith, and To Be a Kid, with nearly 5 million readers worldwide.
Maya 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 Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). She serves on numerous advisory boards, including the Center for the Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) at Duke University, Washington Area Women’s Foundation, American India Foundation, The Golden Baobab Prize, and many others. 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.
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