Maya Ajmera is the President and CEO of Society for Science & the Public (SSP) and Publisher of its award-winning magazine Science News and its family of media properties. 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, Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and Broadcom MASTERS. Maya is an alumna of the Westinghouse Science Talent Search which now sponsored by Regeneron.
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. 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 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.
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 holds an AB from Bryn Mawr College and a MPP from the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband David H. Hollander Jr., a partner at Adduci, Mastriani & Schaumberg, and their daughter.
Awards and Media
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 was awarded 2013-2014 Rotary Global Service to Humanity Award.
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 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.