Students receive grant for NCRA memberships

Kudos to Mary Beth Johnson, CRI, Court Reporting Program Coordinator at Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) in Pittsburgh, Pa., for supporting her students and NCRA at the same time! Last spring, Johnson applied for a grant through the Continuous Quality Improvement fund at CCAC. This fund “exists to provide immediate financial assistance to faculty members striving to improve student learning outcomes, program objectives and/or general education,” per the college’s policies. 

“At the Community College of Allegheny County, we are continuously looking for ways to engage students outside of the classroom,” Johnson told Up-to-Speed. “To that end, I proposed funding NCRA membership. As you know, I have been a lifelong member, serving on the student community of interest for many years. I am a strong believer in the benefits of student membership in professional organizations. All of our students are also members of the Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association.”

In her application for the fund, Johnson outlined a learning gap she believes her students are facing. “Students are not acquainted with tools to overcome the challenge of becoming relevant and updated in the court reporting profession. Students do not subscribe to professional journals or attend networking sessions where they can interact with working court reporters.” This gap, she believes, could be closed by offering subsidized NCRA memberships to all her students.

Membership in NCRA is not just a way for students to succeed while they are in school; it is a way for them to lay the foundation of a lifelong career. “Student membership in professional organizations is considered a pathway to success,” Johnson also wrote in her application. “By supporting student membership in professional organizations, we are breaking new ground and encouraging engagement with colleagues in the court reporting profession.”

Johnson was awarded the grant last spring, but the amount fell just short of covering the cost of NCRA student memberships for all 33 of her students at CCAC. Johnson worked with Susan Simmons, Membership & Events Specialist at NCRA, to solicit donations from anonymous members to cover the cost needed for the final two memberships.

“We are proud to be part of such a committed, passionate, and dedicated community of professionals!” said Johnson.

Mary Beth Johnson, CRI, is Court Reporting Program Coordinator at CCAC in Pittsburgh, Pa. She can be reached at mjohnson@ccac.edu.