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Student Spotlight: Ready for a career change

Daniel Raustadt (l) and Dot

Daniel Raustadt of West St. Paul, Minn., saw his career options narrowing when the pandemic hit. He discovered stenography through social media and it has opened up a whole new world. His dog Dot thinks so too.

UTS | Is court reporting your first career or are you a “career changer”? Why court reporting?

DR | I am a “career changer”. I worked for 10 years in hospitality, mainly in hotels. I tried accounting school for a year but loathed it. When COVID-19 happened, everyone in hospitality lost their job. I worked for natural food co-ops for a few years but never felt at home there. It was hospitality and retail burning me out. I found out about stenography through social media after leaving the co-op. I always had a passion for crime and court documentaries. After attending my first semester at Anoka Technical College in Minnesota. I was hooked.

UTS | What do you love about stenography?

DR | The flexibility. Both as a written language and as a career itself. You can go from captioning a conference, to working a criminal trial, or traveling around the world. I love the flexibility it offers for my personal life.

UTS | What is your dream job?

DR | I would love to do international depositions and freelance around the globe, specifically, Germany and Eastern Europe. I love to travel, so really anywhere that is safe to visit is okay with me.

UTS | Do you have a favorite legal movie or TV show?

DR | For TV, Cops. It is also my dog’s favorite TV show. When “Bad Boys” starts playing, she comes running into the living room. For movies, Legally Blonde. I know it is horribly inaccurate when it comes to portraying how a court is run, but it is still a favorite of mine.

UTS | Do you think court reporters have been misrepresented on screen? How so?

DR | I don’t think it is a matter of misrepresentation, but not being represented at all. Especially in newer movies and TV shows (drama TV), there often is no reporter present or being portrayed. Also, when they are portrayed, you never see a male stenographer.

UTS | Do you have a mentor?

DR | I have contact with several officials and freelancers in the field that I would consider mentors, yes. They all bring so much experience to the table and most importantly, for me, motivation to finish my speeds and get certified. I have been offered a mentor opportunity to shadow at the Ramsey County Courthouse (downtown Saint Paul) once I get closer to my certification.

UTS | What’s a piece of advice you’ve received that has had a significant impact on your life or career?

DR | Time management. Time management. Time management. That is not a typo. I wish someone drilled that into my head years ago, but becoming a court reporter brings this skill to an entirely different level. I have accomplished so many personal, professional, and educational goals because of how hard this program makes you achieve time management success.

UTS | What are three things on your bucket list?

DR | Open a rescue farm for stray and adoptable dogs, return to Germany, and visit Japan.

UTS | The NCRA Conference & Expo is coming to your home state in 2025 (Minneapolis, Minn., July 24-26). Are you planning to attend?

DR | Yes. After I graduate, I want to work outside of my home state but will return for the Conference regardless of my residence at that time.

 Missed previous issues of Up-to-Speed? Access them here.