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Students gain invaluable experience at NCRA Convention & Expo

Kensie Benoit-Monk and Clay Frazier present at the Student Seminar at the 2014 NCRA Convention & Expo

NCRA’s 2015 Convention & Expo promises plenty of opportunities for working professionals to earn CEUs, learn about the latest in reporting trends, and catch up with old friends. But for court reporting students who attend, the event promises them a venue to experience the profession through the eyes of the seasoned.

“For many court reporting students, attending a national convention is the highlight of their court reporting experience,” said Doreen Sutton, RPR, Scottsdale, Ariz., NCRA Secretary-Treasurer and liaison to the association’s Student Community of Interest Committee.

“In addition to learning about the latest trends and what they can expect when they become reporters, students have expressed how much they enjoy being around and meeting working reporters, asking questions, and getting advice and encouragement for getting through their own programs,” said Sutton.

The 2015 Student Seminar Program will take place July 31 to Aug. 1 during NCRA’s Convention & Expo taking place in New York City. Students attending can expect a program that includes an orientation to assist them in getting the most out of the convention experience, information about a student scavenger hunt, and the opportunity to attend the Premier Session which features a panel of court reporting innovators and the installation of NCRA’s Board of Directors. Later in the day, student attendees will also have the opportunity to meet the Board members during a town hall meeting and networking session, an event which is a time-proven favorite, said Sutton.

“The students love meeting the NCRA board members and appreciate that we love them and are excited to see the future of our profession being involved and engaged,” Sutton added.

The NCRA Convention & Expo also brings together students from brick-and-mortar programs with those who take classes online, creating an opportunity for them to bond. This happens especially when the conversation turns to speeds and theory, said Mary Beth Johnson, CRI, professor of court reporting at the Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, Pa., and chair of NCRA’s Student Community of Interest Committee.

“When a group of online students from the same school meet for the first time at the student seminar, an instant connection forms. When the students sit at a wonderfully appointed luncheon table and hear the names of the speed contest winners announced, a sense of one day I can do this too resonates,” Johnson said. “The student seminar is all about meeting fellow students, reporters, officers, angels, teachers, captioners and the greats of the profession who grace us with their presence each year.”

Other highlights scheduled for this year’s student program include a dressing for success presentation, sponsored by NCRF and led by its chair Jan Ballman, RPR, CMRS, Minneapolis, Minn., and representatives from Macy’s department store. Additional sessions will offer attendees a look at the career options available to them after graduation, how to battle the testing heebie-jeebies, vendor training by exhibitors, and tickets to the annual awards luncheon.

“This year’s national convention is in the most exciting city in the world, New York City,” said Roanna Ossege, Falls Church, Va., a member of NCRA’s Student Community of Interest Committee.

“As a member of the committee, I have been honored to participate in the process of putting together the student portion of this year’s program. I am especially excited to participate in the new reporter panel that is scheduled. This will be a great chance for me and my fellow newbies to share our recent experiences with students who will soon be joining us in the field,” she added.

“The students never forget their first national convention,” noted Sutton. “I certainly remember mine and how exciting it was.”

For more information about NCRA’s 2015 Convention & Expo or to register, visit


NCRA recognizes that students don’t always have the incomes that working professionals do. Continuous donations by members have significantly helped to lower the cost of registration for students who want to attend a national convention. Anyone interested in making a donation to support NCRA’s efforts on behalf of students should send donations to in the association’s meeting department. Be sure to note that the donation is to support student registration costs for the annual conventions.