Rebekah Garza was one of the first participants to complete the NCRA A to Z® Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program back in 2018. She then went on to win both an NCRA A to Z Scholarship and a CASE Student Scholarship. A graduate of San Antonio College, Garza is now a freelance reporter in San Antonio, Texas. “I hope to obtain my RPR certification soon,” Garza says, adding that she aspires to “obtain every certification that NCRA offers for professional reporters.”
By Kendra Steppler
KS | Why did you choose to become a court reporter?
RG | I found out about court reporting when I was a junior in high school. From the moment I took the NCRA A to Z® Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program, I knew that I wanted to become a court reporter. I fell in love with steno and the close-knit bond that court reporters share with each other in this profession. At a young age I saw myself becoming a court reporter, and I knew that this profession would provide me with amazing career opportunities that I couldn’t wait to experience.
KS | What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started out?
RG | I wish I had known that there are various theories available and that different programs teach different theories. I didn’t know that more than one theory existed until I was well into my first year of court reporting school. If I had known that fact, I likely would have chosen to learn a different theory than the one I learned when I first started court reporting school.
KS | What’s your “can’t live without” item in your steno bag?
RG | An item that I can’t live without in my steno bag would be my HyperX QuadCast microphone. It’s a microphone that streamers, podcasters, and gamers typically use, and I love to use it when I’m working via Zoom. I haven’t had a chance to test it out in person yet, so I don’t know how well it will work in a courtroom setting, but I love to utilize it when I’m working from home.
KS | What do you like to do when you’re not reporting?
RG | When I’m not reporting, I love to travel. I haven’t traveled since the start of the pandemic, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to travel again in the near future.
KS | What’s the coolest experience you have had working in the profession?
RG | I have been working for about seven months as a freelance reporter here in San Antonio. The coolest experience that I’ve had so far is when I took down several publicized election cases. It was the first time that the media had been present during a hearing I had been assigned to. It was also the first time I had multiple expedites at one time. I learned a lot from this experience, and I look forward to the various other experiences I’ll be able to learn from and relay one day.
KS | What is your next goal?
RG | My next goal is to obtain my RPR certification. I just recently passed the skills portion in November of 2021, and I’m hoping to be a certified Registered Professional Reporter in 2022.
KS| What is your long-term goal?
RG | My long-term goal is to be a realtime writer. Once I have my RPR certification, it is my goal to obtain the CRR certification. When I become a realtime writer one day, I would love to use my skills to provide realtime for a judge or even become a captioner.
KS| What are some of your favorite briefs?
RG | My favorite briefs are words or phrases of words that I hear every day. I love to use GAED for “go ahead” and YAEN for “I mean.” Sometimes it can be easy for me to miss little words like “to” when I am writing quickly, so I like to incorporate prepositions that are said often in my briefs, if I can. For example, I love to use GREATD as a brief for “agreed to” or GOIT as a brief for “going to.” Other than that, I love to use right-hand phrase enders every day and Q & A extensions. They save me so much time when I am writing, and I don’t know what I would do without them.
KS| Do you currently hold any certifications or aspire to?
RG | I am currently a Texas Certified Shorthand Reporter. Like I mentioned, I hope to obtain my RPR certification soon and eventually would love to obtain every certification that NCRA offers for professional reporters.
Kendra Steppler, RPR, is an official in Eugene, Ore.