An astronaut and a finance professor are in an overgrown village in India.

No, it’s not the start of a joke. It’s the beginning of a story about ambition and the desire to make a difference in the world.

The work of an astronaut and a finance professor seem very different, yet they share a characteristic pivotal to their professions: curiosity.

Finance professor Amrita Nain puts her natural inquisitiveness to work by challenging the norms of academic research.

“I study mergers and acquisitions,” Amrita explains. “But I am curious about the impact on pricing that customers pay to buy products from companies who merge. I ask what’s fair and not fair to customers. I think it’s important to know who really benefits from these transactions.”

For years, academic research has focused on operational benefits of mergers like efficiencies, competitive advantages and diminished costs. Government organizations like the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice are primarily concerned by how mergers effect shareholders.

But Amrita cares about the customer. She takes things a step further to explore the broader effects by investigating the real cost to customers from M&A even when shareholders come out on top.

Finance professor Amrita Nain never knew Kalapana Chawla, the first Indian-born woman in space who was onboard the Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003 and sadly died during its mission. But these women share more than a postal code in Haryana, India.

They share characteristics like hard-work, ambition and an unpretentious desire to make the world better for the rest of us.