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2024 class of Fellows of the Academy of Professional Reporters announced

NCRA has announced the 2024 class of Fellows of the Academy of Professional Reporters. The recipients will be recognized during an Awards Luncheon at the 2024 NCRA Conference & Expo taking place Aug. 1-3 at The Galt House Hotel in Louisville, Ky.

The 2024 class of Fellows are:

  • Dr. Geanell C. Adams, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CRC, CRI, a CART captioner and agency owner from Terry, Miss.
  • Debra Dibble, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelance court reporter and captioner from Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Jo Anne Horn Leger, FAPR, RPR, CRR, an official court reporter from Liberty, Texas
  • Donna Urlaub, FAPR, RMR, CRR, a freelance court reporter and agency owner from Chicago, Ill.
Dr. Geanell C. Adams headshot
Dr. Geanell C. Adams

Adams, who holds a doctorate degree in education, chairs NCRA’s DE&I Committee and the Council on Approved Student Education (CASE). She also serves as co-chair of the Written Knowledge Test Committee and is a member of the Student-Teacher and Nominating Committees. She has been a member of NCRA for more than 20 years and is dedicated to the evolution of stenographic court reporting through education and technology. She has also been a frequent presenter at NCRA’s Conference & Expo.

“Being named a FAPR means accepting the next challenge: To reach back and bring someone else along,” Adams said. “It means energizing the next generation to continue to carry the baton and strengthen the foundation that has been laid for future generations of stenographic reporters to come.”

Adams added that her years of membership in NCRA have meant “continuous access to an all-inclusive repository of professional reporters, state and national legislative resources, nationwide networking, opportunities for continued education and professional development, and a sense of belonging to the premier stenographic association that leads the industry in setting the standards all methods of reporting adhere to.”

Debra Dibble headshot
Debra Dibble

Dibble is a freelance court reporter and CART captioner with nearly 40 years of experience. She is a past president of NCRA and has qualified in the National Speed and Realtime competitions multiple times. She currently serves on the NCRA STRONG Committee as well as the Constitution & Bylaws and COPE Committees. Dibble has also worked as a reporter in Memphis, Tenn., and is experienced in reporting arbitrations and trials. At the national level, she has served as an NCRA Chief Examiner. In 2010 the Utah Court Reporters Association (UCRA) honored her with its Distinguished Service Award. Dibble led the team that developed and designed NCRF’s Career Launcher program for new professionals.

“I am so incredibly honored to receive this distinction,” Dibble said. “Being inducted into this Academy with such highly accomplished and esteemed colleagues who have achieved professional excellence is a humbling recognition. This career accomplishment will become a cornerstone of my professional identity and a source of inspiration as I raise my personal commitment to maintain high standards of excellence in continuing to serve this profession and our Association with integrity,” she added.

Dibble said that her membership in NCRA is more than just an affiliation. “Being a part of NCRA has provided me with a supportive community of peers who share my passion for court reporting and stenography. It has been a source of invaluable resources and professional development opportunities, a platform for collaboration and camaraderie, and a source of inspiration as I strive to always continue to progress and improve my skills in my career.”

Jo Anne Horn Leger headshot
Jo Anne Horn Leger

Leger has been a court reporter for 35 years. Her career has included work as a freelance court reporter and a closed-captioner. For the past 24 years, she has served as the official court reporter for the 253rd Judicial District Court for Liberty and Chambers Counties. She currently serves on NCRA’s Constitution & Bylaws Committee. She is also a past NCRA Board of Directors member. A past president of the Texas Court Reporters Association, Leger is also a recipient of the association’s Above & Beyond Award and a member of its Hall of Fame. She is also active in the StenoCAT Users Network.

“Personally and professionally, I am deeply honored to even be considered for such a prestigious designation,” Leger said. “It makes my heart smile knowing that I have peers who believe I deserve to be a Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters. As a reporter or a volunteer, I never expect a pat on the back or to be recognized in any way because I am doing what I love with the people that I love. Thank you to all who supported this, and I am extremely honored,” she noted.

“NCRA has always been a huge part of my career. Attending NCRA events as a new reporter was like attending the Grammys,” Leger added. “I was in awe of everything NCRA, from attending the events to meeting the ‘stars’ of NCRA. As I became a seasoned reporter, though, I came to appreciate everything NCRA. I treasure each friend I have made through this wonderful association and the volunteer work that I have been privileged to do with all of the staff of NCRA and committee members because I am doing what I love with the people I love. Thank you, NCRA, for what you do for me.”

Donna Urlaub headshot
Donna Urlaub

Urlaub is in her 55th year of court reporting. A dedicated contestant at the state and national levels, she won her first state competition in 1987 before moving on to compete at the national level. She has been a participant in NCRA’s Speed Contests for the last 30 years, placing 2nd and 3rd several times before claiming the top spot in 2021. In 2022 Urlaub had a perfect 280 score in the Testimony leg of the national competition. She attributes her success and longevity to a passion for steno, practice, and short writing, which she said continues to evolve each day. She is also a frequent presenter at NCRA’s Conference & Expo.

“Personally and professionally, being named a Fellow is a great honor and a wonderful surprise that I honestly didn’t see coming,” Urlaub said. “Being recognized by my peers for my commitment to the profession that I love is the pinnacle of my career. No one can appreciate the accomplishments of a court reporter like other court reporters, which of course makes this honor all the sweeter,” she added.  

Urlaub said she has derived enormous benefit from being a member of NCRA since 1972. “Membership in NCRA has meant I belong to an association that sets a high professional bar for its members. NCRA is the court reporters’ North Star, bringing us together, recognizing excellence, teaching, nurturing, and leading by example so that we can be the best that we can be,” she said.              

Membership in the Academy symbolizes excellence among NCRA members. The designation of FAPR represents an individual’s dedication to the court reporting and captioning professions and expresses the highest level of professional ethics. Candidates for Fellowship are required to have been in the active practice of reporting/captioning for at least 15 years and to have attained distinction as measured by performance (which includes publication of important papers, creative contributions, service on committees or boards, teaching, etc.).

For more information, contact Cynthia R. Bruce, M.S. Ed, NCRA Senior Director, Education and Certification at