' 2023 Research Administrator Staff Award Program Recipients | JHURA

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2023 Research Administrator Staff Award Program Recipients

Meet the 2023 Research Administrator Awardees and Honorable Mentions

Meet the awardees and the honorable mentions of the first annual Research Administrator Staff Recognition Awards Program. These individuals were nominated by their colleagues for their excellent work and selected by a review committee* made up of various staff and faculty working in JHU research administration.

We asked the 2023 awardees and honorable mentions several questions about their time as research administrators. Read their bios below!

*A special thank you to our 2023 Nomination Review Committee: Lisa Walborn, Mary McBride, Benjamin Zaitchik, Marcy DeSantis, and Ryan McCarthy

Research Administrator Staff Recognition Awardees

Mirah Ippolito – School of Medicine – Research Administration Excellence Award

I’ve been with the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics since April 2017. I was originally hired by our stellar former Administrator Shirley Crow. This was my first position at JHU and Shirley took a big chance on me because I had an atypical background for the position. In 2022, I was promoted to senior staff. 

I love working with our brilliant, funny and insightful PIs. I come from a science family and it is always a pleasure to have one-on-one meetings with our PIs, hear about their current projects, and come up with new strategies for funding and expanding their research. Developing creative ways to support their research goals is the best part of my job. 

I have a BA in Cultural Studies and a MFA in Screenwriting, which is a bit unusual for a Research Administrator, but both degrees gave me the research and writing skills needed to excel in my current position. 

I attend in-person and virtual conferences organized by our department’s major funders (National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, etc.), as well as webinars hosted by the Society of Research Administrators International (SRAI). I also read blogs and listen to podcasts from funding organizations – I like “Open Mike,” the blog from Mike Lauer, the NIH’s Deputy Director for Extramural Research. 

Steven Ransom – Whiting School of Engineering – Research Administration Excellence Award

In March 2021 I started at JHU/HEMI (Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute).

 My favorite aspect of working in research administration is the diversity of faculty, staff, students, postdocs, and everyone in-between.  I learn so much through daily collaboration on a professional and personal level that it makes me feel welcomed and important.  Keep up the positive culture. 

HEMI has embraced a lot of recent change but continues to impress me with how we prevail through it all, together.  It is a gentle reminder of how strong HEMI’s circle is and continues to be through adversity. 

I speak with colleagues from all departments and listen even more.  The experience amongst JHU is unparalleled and one can learn/accomplish a lot through teamwork here.  I live by “teamwork makes the dream work”. 

Jamie Kendall – Whiting School of Engineering – Research Administration Rookie Excellence Award

In April 2022, I joined Johns Hopkins University in the Biomedical Engineering Department as a Grants and Contracts Analyst, specializing in pre-award activities. 

Over the past year, I’ve had the privilege of working on a multitude of research proposals with both the Johns Hopkins University Research Administration (JHURA) and the Office of Research Administration (ORA). What truly captivates me about my role in research administration is the dynamic and ever-changing nature of research proposals. Engaging with diverse individuals and sponsors ensures that each day brings new and interesting challenges.  

Throughout this journey, the collaborative spirit within the pre-award team has been instrumental to my success. The team’s dedication, support, and overall excellence have not only made the past year fulfilling but have also played a pivotal role in enhancing my proficiency in research administration 


Research Administrator Staff Recognition Honorable Mentions

Neiksha Stephens – School of Medicine – Research Administration Excellence Award Honorable Mention

I have worked for Johns Hopkins University in the Department of Pathology for going on 20 years in April.  

I have embraced the role of a grants and contracts analyst, and I showcase my adeptness in navigating the complex landscape of research funding and compliance. I have a meticulous approach and comprehensive understanding of the intricacies involved in grants and contracts administration have been instrumental in the success of numerous projects.

I began my journey as a histology/lab technician and then transitioned seamlessly into the realm of study regulatory assistant, contributing significantly to pivotal projects such as the H1N1 study and HIV/AIDS studies in both China and Uganda. This phase of my career not only broadened my understanding of diverse research environments but also underscored my passion for ensuring ethical and efficient study procedures. 

To stay abreast of the ever-evolving landscape of research administration, I actively engage in professional development. Attending a myriad of training sessions and information forums offered by organizations such as the Office of Research Administration (ORA), JHU Research Administration (JHURA), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA), I ensure that my knowledge and skills remain at the forefront of industry standards. 

Dermot Wynne – Bloomberg School of Public Health – Research Administration Rookie Excellence Award Honorable Mention

I have worked at JHU, Bloomberg School of Public Health – Center for Communication Programs since March 2022. 

Although I work for the CCP finance team in an office in downtown Baltimore, I am inspired and motivated by knowing that my work contributes to the achievements of CCP programs around the world.  Our research and public health messaging improves the lives of countless people and assists them in reaching their full human potential. 

I have learned so much, and benefited from the knowledge, experience and commitment of my colleagues here at the CCP.  Our leadership team provides training and opportunities for growth, learning and professional development.  It’s a great work environment. 


Jennifer Berger- Krieger School of Arts and Sciences – Research Administration Leadership Excellence Award Honorable Mention

I have had the rare opportunity to have spent my entire time (16 years in February 2024) at Johns Hopkins in the Biology Department. I started as an administrative coordinator and became increasingly interested in research administration. In 2012 I joined the Research Administration Program (RATP), and I now serve as a full-time mentor for the RATP.  

I take great pride in assisting the brilliant faculty with the administrative side of a grant proposal so that they can focus on the research.  I was born with a rare genetic eye condition called Achromatopisa, which came with many challenges, but the knowledge that ongoing research was being done gave me hope.  

Prior to joining JHU, I worked in a variety of positions across retail and customer service. I graduated with a BA in Psychology, but I discovered that I enjoyed the financial aspect of retail. In 2007 I learned of a position in the Biology department and became an administrative coordinator. The rest is history! 

I’ve taken on the role of primary trainer for all new members of our research administration team. I encourage my colleagues to come to me with questions, and I model using empathy and humor in stressful times. To me, the biggest part of research administration is being able to work well with others. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and introducing lesser-known research administration resources with my colleagues. I look forward to many more years in research administration.  


Johns Hopkins University
Research Administration

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Baltimore, MD 21218

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Email: jhura@jhu.eduSend an email to jhura@jhu.edu

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