Ajmera said that while India has great talent, it needs to do more to nurture and build an ecosystem for entrepreneurship.
“What has been interesting for me is the number of young South Asian Americans or Indian-Americans, applying and doing extraordinary research, but also being in our top 40 (of the finals of the prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search),” Ajmera told PTI in an interview.
The finalists of this competition were chosen based on their projects’ scientific rigour and their potential to become world-changing scientific leaders.
They were selected by a national jury of professional scientists from a pool of 300 scholars, announced earlier this month.
The scholars were chosen from a pool of over 1,900 highly-qualified entrants, all of whom completed an original research project and extensive application process.
“It is quite something. We are very pleased about this. Since it was founded in 1942, you see over decades new immigrant classes that end up having a large presence in this competition. Indians and members of South Asian descent are certainly making their mark,” she said. Ajmera’s father came to the US to pursue PhD in electrical engineering, and her mother is an entrepreneur.
“When your parents are immigrants to this country, they have a certain ideal of pushing their children to go for whatever opportunities there are. But one of those opportunities about science and engineering, and striving towards that is something of a mainstay for the Indian community,” she said.
“I would also say that it’s about being opportunistic, it is about hard work, and it’s also about sheer brilliance. Frankly, these kids are doing fantastic research,” Ajmera said.
She noted that while India possesses talent in abundance, it needs enough institutions to support that talent and then create a culture of entrepreneurship.
“India has done a great job with the IITs, Pilani and Birla Institute of Technology. The talent is there. We just need to be able to start young, then you need to have enough institutions to support that talent. And then you need to create a culture of entrepreneurship where you are really building innovation and new technologies and companies and building your economy,” she added.