Katie Picciano, a student at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) in Pittsburgh, Pa., has been named this year’s winner of the National Court Reporter Foundation (NCRF) Student Intern Scholarship. “We at NCRF are so proud that Katie has earned our Student Intern Scholarship,” said NCRF Chair Early Langley, RMR, a freelance court reporter from Danville, Calif. “We are delighted to honor her accomplishments and dedication with this award.”
The Student Intern Scholarship is a $1,000 award given annually to a high-achieving court reporting student who has completed the internship portion of their education. Recipients are nominated by their schools and must fulfill scholarship requirements. The NCRF scholarship program seeks to ensure that rising student court reporters and newly appointed court reporters receive encouragement and incentives to learn and strive for excellence. The scholarship program was created to help foster dedication from both groups of reporters and is supported by donations. Donations to NCRF campaigns are tax deductible.
Among other criteria for the scholarship, applicants must complete an essay on a topic of current interest. In her essay on the topic “What has your student intern experience taught you about this profession in a post-COVID world?” Picciano shared how an increased reliance on technology during the pandemic had exposed weaknesses not just in the courts, but in our society as a whole.
“From children who were suddenly learning in virtual classrooms,” she wrote, “to the elderly who had their doctors’ appointments via FaceTime, and to depositions being held virtually, society has accepted such changes, whether we like to or not. However even with these advances, you still need a caring teacher to educate, a trustworthy doctor to heal, and an accurate court reporter to record. Throughout my internship experience in a post COVID-19 world, I learned that many jobs are irreplaceable, and court reporting is one of them.”
Picciano is very appreciative of this recognition by NCRF. She is also grateful for the help she’s had along the way. “My teachers and classmates at CCAC, my NCRA mentor, and all the professional court reporters I have met during my internship have been genuine and encouraging,” she says. “They kept me motivated to stay on track to graduate in less than two years during a pandemic.” During her time at school and in her internship, Picciano faced more than just the challenges of COVID-19. She was also raising a baby. “Not only was I learning how to be a court reporter, but at the same time I was learning how to be a first-time mom!”
Picciano has already lined up her first job at the Chester County Courthouse in West Chester, Pa. “I am so excited to begin my career as an official court reporter in March of 2022,” she adds, “to be able to support my family and to continue to learn and take advantage of all the tools and resources that NCRA has to offer.”
New scholarships are opening soon. Students who have completed an NCRA A to Z® Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program may be eligible for one of 15 NCRA A to Z® Scholarships. And students from NCRA-approved reporter education programs are encouraged to apply for one of five CASE student scholarships. Applications open Feb. 1. Visit the NCRF scholarships and grants page for a full list of opportunities offered.