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A deliberate finish leads to a great start

Appreciating that it takes a little guts to venture down a less-traveled path, we always enjoy hearing how some- one first begins providing CART services. With CART as their chosen career on com­pleting school, these reporters threw all their energy into this special field. Carol-Joy Harris from the San Francisco Bay area and Mona Lieberman from Bergen County, N.J., were will­ing to share their stories.

“The first time I heard about it, I knew that was what I wanted to do with this skill,” says Harris. “Now when I tell people about my job and how perfect I feel it is for me, I say that it’s a win-win-win: I help people, I learn about all kinds of things that I wouldn’t otherwise, and I get paid for it!”

Lieberman recalls when she first be­came aware of CART services being of­fered in the classroom. “After being in my court reporting program for two years, I ran into a high school friend who was now an administrator for a school district that provided CART services just six miles from my home. I was able to shadow a CART provider one day for several classes, and from that moment on, I had an inter­est in becoming a CART provider,” she says.


Doing most of the research about the field on her own, Lieberman’s focus as she fin­ished school was “speed, speed, speed.” Today, she still practices diligently. Lieber­man landed a job working for one school district providing CART for several high school students. Starting with history and economics classes, she quickly found her­self also working as a sub covering all sub­ject areas.

When asked if she felt prepared as she started her job or if she encountered unex­pected challenges, Lieberman says, “Noth­ing was a surprise. I took each challenge as it came. If I couldn’t resolve something on my own, I was able to ask coworkers for help. I know this is a never-ending learn­ing experience. There is always something new to learn. I plan on becoming better acquainted with the software. I’ll also con­tinue practicing to become a faster and more accurate writer every day so that I can be the best CART provider I can be for my students. I love what I do, and I want it to show through my work.”

Harris’s self-propelled research led her to her first job. “I was lucky enough to be able to take an evening course from a lo­cal CART and captioning agency owner, which was wonderful. Through that class, I met the CART coordinator at one local university, where I started working right from school. At the same time, I heard about an opening at another nearby uni­versity and immediately began working there, too. They had never used CART before, so there was a learning curve for everyone,” she says.


At the start, Lieberman found software and user setting help from supportive col­leagues, and Harris reached out to several sources. “Yes, I had different people for different things. For example, I had one person for technical questions and anoth­er for pep talks,” Harris said.

As for one surprise, Harris summed up perfectly what many of us found out too. “This might sound funny, but I didn’t realize how out of touch I was with the youth of today. It’s been 40 years since I graduated from college, and things are so different now, from dress and behavio­ral standards to prevailing instructional methods and so on. I really enjoy work­ing in the academic setting, though, much more than I thought I would, and much more than court, where I worked briefly while still in school.”

By pursuing additional learning op­portunities outside of their traditional court reporting curriculum, both Lieber­man and Harris have succeeded in secur­ing a career that is interesting and enjoy­able, as well as one that they both take much pride in. It doesn’t get much better than that!


Colleen Platt, RPR, is a freelance reporter and CART provider residing in Lincoln Park, N.J. She can be reached at