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!