For the past four years, the National Committee of State Associations (NCSA) has issued a friendly challenge among state associations and individuals to spread the word about the benefits of a career in court reporting or captioning. Participants had the chance to win complimentary registrations to NCRA events or vouchers for webinars for continuing education. NCRA member Lisa Wagner, RPR, an official court reporter from Highlands Ranch, Colo., earned top honors in this year’s challenge by hosting 10 school career fairs. As grand prize winner, Wagner has earned a complimentary registration to the NCRA Convention & Expo being held Aug. 2-5 in New Orleans, La.
In a tie for first place were NCRA members Cindy Isaacsen, RPR, an official from Olathe, Kan., and Kristen Wurgler, RPR, a captioner from Cottage Grove, Wis. Isaacsen and Wurgler will receive free webinars from NCRA.
The JCR Weekly reached out to learn more about what motivates this year’s grand prize winner to promote the profession. First prize winners, Isaacsen and Wurgler, will be profiled in next week’s issue of the JCR Weekly.
JCR | What were the activities you were involved in to promote the profession?
Wagner | Most of the activities were career fairs, but one was the Colorado School Counselor Association annual conference, which we have participated in for three years now, and I also was involved with a couple presentations. I participated in five career fairs: Three of them were high school career fairs, and two of them were middle school.
JCR | How did you identify events to participate in?
Wagner | The biggest majority of events we participate in come from requests by counselors who have had contact with us at their annual conference.
JCR | How did you recruit volunteers to help?
Wagner | The Colorado Court Reporters Association sends out what it calls eBlasts to the members. I also put articles in our publication, The Ramblings. We also have volunteer forms and rely on word of mouth. We couldn’t have participated in all these events without the volunteers, and I so appreciate everyone.
JCR | What is the biggest factor motivating you to reach out to participate in so many career day events?
Wagner | The reason I participate is to let counselors and students know of our wonderful profession and the opportunities we have. I am continually amazed that they either don’t know anything about court reporters or, if they do know something, it’s not the full extent of the areas we can work in.
JCR | What have some of the responses been from students learning about court reporting for the first time?
Wagner | Students are absolutely in awe of realtime! We always demonstrate realtime, and the biggest response is “That’s so cool!” I just have so much fun and really enjoy showing students what we do.
JCR | Do you serve as a mentor for current court reporting students?
Wagner | I have in the past, but I do not currently serve as a mentor. I just recently volunteered to be a mentor through the A to Z program in our state.
JCR | I am assuming you have fun participating in these events. What is the best part of participating for you?
Wagner | Yes, I do have fun. Also, it is extremely energizing for me to attend these and go back to work thinking this really is a very unique ability that we have and I am so proud to be in this profession!
JCR | What is your goal for next year’s NCSA challenge?
Wagner | See if we can keep up this pace!
JCR | The grand prize is a convention registration. What is the best part of attending a national convention?
Wagner | I have never been to a convention, so I think it would be to meet new people and reconnect with others I haven’t seen in a while. Also, the classes and workshops always look awesome, so I would be looking forward to that.
JCR | What advice would you give to other reporters thinking of participating in career fairs?
Wagner | I know it’s a commitment to take time away from our daily work, but it is so worth it even if you do it just once. One of the reasons I do this is that I feel very strongly that if we as a profession aren’t more proactive in promoting ourselves, we are not going to have the future reporters to fill some of these positions that already aren’t being filled in many states.
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