What did you do to make a difference for Court Reporting & Captioning Week?

By Debbie Kriegshauser

I must share with you all that I had a “peach of a time” visiting the Brown College of Court Reporting in Atlanta, Ga., during Court Reporting & Captioning Week. I was beyond impressed with the school. The classroom layouts, the labs, the faculty, and the administration were just amazing – not to mention the best students in the United States. There are 41 daytime students, 32 evening students, and 125 online students. That is phenomenal! We certainly can’t take a chance of losing this program.

We all remember those days of the dreaded “guest speaker” when we were in school, but I must say we had a fantastic time. Several of the students who chose to sit in the back of the room were dancing in the aisles and happy-go-lucky when they left. Oh, yes, we had attendance prizes, Valentine’s Day candy bags, and some good ole fun and enjoyment. They love those wonderful reference books the NCRA Store has for sale, plus I rewarded the student I mentor there with a convention registration for being the main reason I went to Brown College of Court Reporting in the first place. Thank you, Kimesha Smith Stallworth, for arranging this opportunity!

I thoroughly enjoyed sharing my life and work experience with the students. I’m currently a federal official in St. Louis, Mo., and have been for 15 years. But I had done 25 years of freelance work before that, not to mention two years of CART reporting for a deaf student studying Agricultural Science, some dabbling in the captioning side of life, and providing media coverage for a Senior PGA Tournament on top of the freelance work. Needless to say, I had a lot to share with the students. I could have consumed the entire day. I also went into my professional memberships and covered an array of committees I have served on to show the students that involvement in your professional organizations is priceless!

We all have some experiences we can share with students as well as prospective students across the country. I challenge each and every one of you to share a bit of your court reporting or captioning experience with our schools. You can make a difference. You have to “just do it!” Did I mention the school YouTubed the entire evening presentation while it streamed it to the online students?

And the best part of this college visit: I got invited back! I also received the nicest “thank you” card. Thank you, Brown College of Court Reporting, especially Mark Green, Jr., director of career services, and Marita Carey, director of administration!

Debbie Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CRC, CLVS, is an official court reporter at the federal level from St. Louis, Mo.

Court reporting student considers blindness a characteristic, not limitation

Nearly two years ago, Kolby Garrison from Greensboro, N.C., enrolled as an online student at Brown College of Court Reporting in Atlanta, Ga. Like other court reporting students around the country, Garrison practices daily, attends her classes, and says that speed building is one of the most challenging aspects of learning the court reporting profession. Garrison, who is blind, attributes much of her success so far in reaching her educational goals to Brown College and looks forward to graduation when she can also provide captioning and CART services.  The JCR Weekly recently interviewed Garrison about what drew her to the field of court reporting and more.


JCR Weekly: What drew you to the court reporting profession?

Garrison: I was drawn to the court reporting profession by my mother encouraging me to look at court reporting as a career option. I debated between court reporting and law school. I chose court reporting over law school based on the position held by the court reporter within the legal field and the skills that are required to be a stenographer.

JCR Weekly: What are your goals for the future when you graduate?

Garrison: My goals for the future include working in the court reporting, captioning, and Communication Access Realtime Translation provision fields.

JCR Weekly: Can you share how you access and participate in online classes?

Garrison: I use assistive technology to access information. I have software on my computer that speaks the text on the screen, and a device that displays the text on the screen in Braille. The Braille display enables me to read back and edit my writing. I participate in online classes on an equal level with my fellow classmates. Materials are provided in the formats that are accessible to me, and my instructors verbally describe anything that they present during class.

JCR Weekly: How supportive has Brown College of Court Reporting been in helping you to achieve you goals?

Garrison: I cannot say enough about the support that I receive from Brown College of Court Reporting. I contacted numerous court reporting schools with online programs, and Brown College of Court Reporting was the only school to express enthusiasm about accommodating my needs as a student who is blind.

JCR Weekly: What has been the most challenging part of learning the profession for you?

Garrison: For me, the most challenging aspect of learning the court reporting profession is building speed.

JCR Weekly: Some will consider you to be a true role model given what you have overcome to pursue this profession. What would be your response to that?

Garrison: I view my blindness as a characteristic. My not being able to see does not limit me if I can help it. Blindness presents challenges and difficulties at times, but where there is a will, there is a way. Finding the way might require alternative approaches, but the way will be found if you have the right tools and the right attitude. I have the will, and I will find the way!