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Students make Every Connection Matter at Houston Conference

By Amie First

More than 120 students from across the country gathered in Houston, Texas, this summer for the NCRA Conference & Expo. For many new students, especially those studying online, this was their first opportunity to meet other students and reporters in person. For all of them, it was a chance to make connections.

Friday began with a student breakfast and welcome to meet and mingle before a day of sessions. The first student session was “Test Prep in Court Reporting School and Beyond.” Jennifer Sati, RMR, CRR, CRC, CRI, an instructor at Anoka Technical College in Anoka, Minn., and Amy Davidson, NCRA Director of Certification and Testing, focused on passing the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) written certification and how to start preparing while still in school. The next session, “From Student to Steno Reporter: Tips and Insights from a Recent Graduate,” featured Erica Wofford, RPR. Wofford provided many practical tips on speedbuilding and transitioning from student to professional. The students then attended a student luncheon.

The day ended with the popular Student Speed Dating session where students “dated” all types of reporters: Freelancers, officials, federal officials, captioners, CART providers, and reporters from the U.S. House of Representatives. Students asked many questions about theses professionals’ day-to-day work life.

Several students sat in the audience during the NCRA National Realtime and Speed Contests to see the best of the best compete. Students also enjoyed visiting the Expo Hall where they tested new steno machines and viewed different software options as well as services from many other vendors.

Alex Dunn, a student from Granite Bay, Calif., was a first-timer in Houston. “I learned so much at this Conference,” said Dunn. “But more than the knowledge I gained, the people I met and the connections I made really gave me a new energy to push forward with speedbuilding and to work hard to finish school. The whole weekend was so inspiring and motivating!” added Dunn, who attends the Mark Kislingbury Academy of Court Reporting and is testing at 120 wpm.

It was so nice seeing y’all in Houston. Make plans for the next NCRA Conference & Expo being held in Louisville, Ky., August 1-3, 2024.  See y’all there!

Amie First, RDR, CRR, CRC, CPR, is an official reporter based in Orlando, Fla. She can be reached at