College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University

CEHD Professional Faculty Member Is One of 10 in the Country With All Three Research Administrator Certifications

October 25, 2017

There are only nine other people in the country like Jessica Guzzo.

Guzzo has completed all three research administrator certifications, a professional achievement she accomplished just before school started this fall.

“It hasn’t really set in yet that I actually passed it,” says Guzzo, Director of Research Administration at CEHD’s Office of Research Administration, about the final test she passed in August.

In the U.S., there are more than 2,700 people with the Certified Research Administrator (CRA) certification. Fewer than 100 people also have either the Certified Financial Research Administrator (CFRA) or the Certified Pre-Award Research Administrator (CPRA) certifications. And only 10 people, including Guzzo, have all three.

For Guzzo, receiving all three certifications was a long-term personal goal—a way to learn more about the pre-award side of an award’s life cycle, the financial intricacies, and more. She received the CFRA in 2015, and the CRA in 2011.

Considering there are only a handful of degree programs that focus on research administration, certifications from the Research Administrators Certification Council, which develops and administers all three certifications, are a good way for a research administrator to get both conceptual and technical knowledge.

As the Director of Research Administration at the college, Guzzo works on the operational side of awards. Her job includes making sure proposal submissions comply with sponsor requirements and awards are properly managed. There is also an Office of Research Development, headed by Associate Deans for Research Rodney Hopson and Eamonn Kelly, wwhich is focused on generating interest for external funding opportunities.

In addition to her role as CEHD’s Director of Research Administration, Guzzo is using the knowledge gained from her three certifications to impact various committees around the university. She is also a presenter for the university’s Award Acceptance and Management course within the Research Administration Certificate Program offered through George Mason University’s Office of Sponsored Programs.

Guzzo says that now, with three certifications under her belt, she has a deeper understanding of both the pre-award life cycle and the financial side of an award. And that expertise helps her handle problems more strategically and work more effectively with external sponsors. “Learning the ‘Body of Knowledge’ for each exam gives you a wealth of information and know-how,” she says.

“I love the blend of accounting and legal and regulatory compliance,” Guzzo adds. “There’s never a dull moment.”