Name: Mary Beth Johnson, CRI
Currently resides in: Pittsburgh, Pa.
Position: Professor of court reporting
Member since: 1990
Graduated from: Duquesne University, M.Ed.; Dickinson College, BA in American Studies; Court reporting training at Duff’s Business Institute
Theory: Berry H. Horne
Favorite brief: SOP city of Pittsburgh
Why did you decide to become a teacher?
My dad was a teacher. I spent many days with a Lindy red pen, helping him correct papers. Who thought I would have gone through hundreds of red pens in my 38-year teaching career? My dad is now almost 92 and still fondly remembers his teaching days and asks me every September if I am ready to go back.
What surprised you about your career and why?
I am constantly surprised that, when people ask me what I teach and I say court reporting, their reply is: “Are they still around? Do they still use that little box machine? How fast do they type?”
I reply that we embrace technology, we do not let it replace us! And yes, the machine is alive and well, recording verbatim the spoken word.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I am most proud of establishing a court reporting scholarship at the Community College of Allegheny County endowed for court reporting students. We received a $10,000 donation from a local court reporter, and I matched it. Together, we try to touch the future of a new generation of court reporters.
I am also proud of the 100 percent membership of our students in NCRA and PCRA.
I am grateful to NCRA for selecting me as the recipient of the 2014 CASE Award of Excellence.
Have you accomplished something not related to your career that you would like to relate?
I have tried to learn Spanish in an effort to teach those whose native language is not English a tool that they can use to become part of the American Dream. This process is taking longer than I imagined, but when I can speak to a man working in the yard and ask him if he would “lquieres una botella de agua” in Spanish and he answers “Si,” I feel I have made progress in conquering a language similar to steno. When I retire from court reporting, I would like to open a little school and teach English to those who cannot afford to pay for classes.
What project is exciting you right now?
The Veteran’s History Project. Through the efforts of Marjorie Peters, RPR, CRR, and Janis Ferguson, RPR, CRR, an arrangement was made for Retired General Dunlavey to speak with my Dad for two hours. Janis flawlessly recorded my Dad’s bravest memories. Our entire family of five children, three grandchildren, and great grandchildren solemnly watched the DVD as we celebrated my Mom’s 90th birthday. The DVD and transcript not only will grace the Library of Congress but also the personal libraries of the Habas family.