DMACC Court Reporting Career Fair

What started out as a request for students to visit District 7 turned into a full-blown court reporting career fair! It all started a year ago when Jeanne Jacobs and Karla Lester, RMR, CRR, members of the Iowa Court Reporters Association (ICRA), invited us to bring the court reporting students to their district so they could show them what a great place it is to work.

That seemed like a great idea and something the students would enjoy. But we realized that other folks would probably request that we visit their districts as well. I could see us traveling in a school bus all over the state. Oh, but we’ve got classes to teach and tests to pass.

After visiting with ICRA President Rachel Waterhouse, RPR, we decided that a career fair might be a good solution. The event was originally scheduled in February during Court Reporting & Captioning Week but was canceled because of bad weather.

On April 2, six court reporters, one district court administrator, two judges, four freelance firm owners, and the interim director of human resources for the Iowa Judicial Branch came to the Newton campus of the Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC), Des Moines, Iowa. The top speed students talked with employers first; then the middle speed students; and finally, the theory students. 

Following the fair, employers and DMACC administration and faculty members participated in a roundtable discussion on strategies for recruiting students and building the college’s court reporting program.

Theory students reported feeling a little nervous, even intimidated, at first. However, they all had great comments about how much they learned and how friendly everyone was. Following are sample comments from theory students:

  • My favorite part was that every single court reporter loves their job.
  • I truly appreciated the openness and friendliness of everyone wanting to see all of us succeed.
  • I believe that only good can come out of it. I was intimidated at first, but the conversation was easy and natural.
  • This was a great opportunity for us to feel a more confident in the profession.
  • I feel a little more connected in the court reporting community.
  • It helped me see the “light at the end of the tunnel.”
  • I think it is a great idea to repeat this event annually. It benefits both employers and students.  Employers get to “sell” their firm or district and students get to see all of the options they have.
  • Please have this event annually. I wanted to stay at every table longer!

Second-year students offered these comments:

  • One thing I really appreciated was that all employers, whether freelance or official, asked me what route I was interested in taking. They were all kind and gracious regardless of whether or not I was considering their area or method of reporting. The overall atmosphere of the job fair was one of enthusiasm and excitement for the new reporters who will be working all throughout Iowa. I feel very fortunate to have been educated in this state filled with professional and welcoming reporters.
  • All of the interactions I had with different employers were extremely positive and very encouraging. I am anxious to begin the job application process and to see what the future holds. I am confident that whatever path I choose will include seasoned and accomplished reporters willing to help me along the way.
  • All in all, the experience was nothing short of amazing and much needed for everyone.
  • I think every table offered the opportunity that if I ever wanted to sit in and shadow for a day, that I am more than welcome to. Everyone was so thoughtful and encouraging. It was great to feel like a professional that day, and I hope DMACC continues to provide this opportunity in the future.
  • I honestly don’t think the day could have gone any better. I really enjoyed talking to everyone. I will keep an open mind, as I get closer to graduation, to both freelancing and official, because both offer great job opportunities.
  • Everyone I spoke to was nice, and it sounds like there are many wonderful places I can work in the future. I am excited to see where I will end up.

Thank you to all of the employers listed below:

District 5:                    Chelsey Wheeler, RPR, official court reporter

District 6:                    Sarah Hyatt, RPR, official court reporter and the Hon. Judge Lars Anderson

District 7:                    Karla Lester, RMR, CRR, freelance court reporter

Jeanne Jacobs, court reporter

District 8:                    Kailey Booten, court reporter

                                    Kari Diggins, RPR, official court reporter

                                    Heidi Baker, district court administrator

                                    The Hon. Judge Mary Ann Brown

Iowa Judicial District: Jessica Holmes, interim director of human resources

Sarah Dittmer, RPR, freelance court reporter

Susan Frye, RPR, freelance court reporter and owner of Susan Frye Court Reporting

Andrea Kreutz, CLVS, and owner of Huney-Vaughn Reporting

Sean Sweeney, owner of Sweeney Court Reporting

Congratulations to the Student Speed Contest Winners

Madalyn Massey
Kelly Madden
Rachel Marr

Schools across the country once again participated in this year’s NCRA student speed contest. The contest was held in celebration of 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week and gave students the chance to test their speed skills on Literary and Q&A tests. Madalyn Massey, of Des Moines Area Community College in Iowa, was awarded first prize. Kelly Madden, of Atlantic Technical Center in Coconut Creek, Fla., was awarded second prize, and Rachel Marr of the Hardeman School of Court Reporting and Captioning, Tampa, Fla., was awarded third prize.

“I first got interested in the Realtime Reporting program because of a family friend, who is now my wonderful mentor,” said Massey. “It also became a huge motivation for me to get a job where I would be sitting due to an ankle injury I received in high school. I really need a job where I am stationary, and I became even more interested in the career field after seeing firsthand the dedication, professionalism, and passion involved in the court reporting field.”

Massey is set to graduate in December.

Second place winner Madden is returning to court reporting after an 18-year hiatus. A graduate of Sheridan Vocational Technical Institute, Hollywood, Fla., she is back at Atlantic Technical to hone her skills and get to back to the career she loved so much.

Marr is a mother of three who got into court reporting by chance. “I had to leave my radiology program when I was pregnant and while I was on my leave, I talked to an attorney who said that if she had a chance to do it all over again, she would be a court reporter. That piqued my interest, so I started looking into what exactly that detailed [in terms of] school, money, certifications etc.” 

The Mardi Gras-themed contest, sponsored by NCRA’s Student/Teacher Committee, was open to students in any court reporting program, at any speed level. Ninety-three students from 10 schools took the tests. One Literary and one Q&A test were given, and each consisted of five minutes of dictation at a speed that each student was either currently working on or had just passed.

In order to be eligible to win a prize, students must have passed the test with at least 96 percent accuracy. The tests, written by Debbie Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CLVS, CRC, a member of NCRA’s Student/Teacher Committee, were designed so that the speed could be adjusted to fit the student’s speed.

A total of 25 students passed at least one test. Three of those who passed were chosen at random to receive the winners’ beads. As the gold bead, or first prize winner, Massey received an RPR Study Guide ($125 value). Madden, the purple bead, or second prize winner, was awarded the choice of a one-year NCRA student membership ($46 value) or one complimentary leg of the RPR Skills Test ($72.50 value). The winner of the green beads, Marr, won a $25 Starbucks gift card.

Many thanks to Kriegshauser for her hard work writing the speed tests and preparing the other testing materials. The contest would not have been possible without her.

NCRA would like to showcase the hard work that students and schools are doing to promote the court reporting and captioning professions. Below are the names of all the students who participated in this year’s contest. Students marked with an asterisk passed the test with 96 percent accuracy or higher.

Atlantic Technical College

Coconut Creek, Fla.

Kelly Madden*          

Victor Laznik 

Amber King   

Lynn Corbet   

Brown College of Court Reporting

Atlanta, Ga.

Parker Burton

David Gee      

Shirley Johnson          

DeLeon Little

Chris Tomko  

College of Court Reporting

Valparaiso, Ind.

Kerri Huff      

Natasha Wentzel        

Patricia Lopez*          

Des Moines Area Community College

Newton, Iowa

Madelyn Schmidt*    

Madison Rowland     

Madalyn Massey*      

Green River College

Auburn, Wash.

Ashley Dixon*           

Spencer Holesinsky   

Justin Choi     

Sarah Webb   

Mariah Banta*

Alexandra Fleming    

Hardeman School of Court Reporting and Captioning

Tampa, Fla.

Michele Buono*

Rachel Marr*

Casey Venoitte*

Mark Kislingbury Academy of Court Reporting

Houston, Texas

Christy Nowotny       

Pearl Gonzalez           

Cayley Rodrigue        

Macomb Community College

Clinton Township, Mich.

Allison Boggess         

Jennifer Mitrevski      

LaTasha Lindsey       

Allison Grawburg      

Carla Stark     

Kim Champagne        

Jackie Felker  

Robin Fisette  

Dorothy Strong          

Robert Ludkiig          

Kelly Mason  

Alicia Urbinati           

NAIT

Edmonton, AB Canada       

Andriana Bilous

Angeline Jacobsen

Caprice Albert

Elizabeth Fossen

Emily Ferdinand

Ericah Crumback

Jasmine Hallis

Jennifer Friesen

Jodie Kostiw

Joseph Nudelman

Julia Desrosiers

Katherine Gallin

Kayla Velthuis-Kroeze

Kelcy Sherbank

Kristina Zeller

Krystal Truong

Lucie Titley

Marie Foreman

Meagan Gibson

Michael Thomas

Robin Tarnowetzki

Roxanna Doctor

Sara Pelletier

Tyler Hopkins

Abby Robinson

Amanda Hebb

Ariana McCalla*

Bradley Morrison

Julie Layton*

Lora Zabiran

McKaya Baril*

Michelle Stevens

Netannys Turner-Wiens

Presley Thomson

Sarah Pfau

Shauna Lagore*

Stephanie Jabbour

Yazda Khaled

Plaza College

Forest Hills, N.Y.

Paula Mullen*

Taylor Mascari*

Bianna Lewis*           

Letizia Yemma*        

Michelle Paluszek*    

Elisabeth Dempsey*  

Dishawn Williams*    

Maia Morgan*

Alexandra Bourekas*

Rachel Salatino*        

Emily Nicholson*      

Tikiya Etchison*        

Christina Penna          

Shane Perry    

Pedro Santiago           

Cecilia Miranda

Queens School looks to end nationwide court stenographer shortage

New York CBSlocal.com posted an article on May 16 that quotes NCRA member Karen Santucci, CRI, director of Plaza College’s court reporting program, about the school’s efforts to help end the nationwide court reporter shortage.

Read more.

NCRA member participates in fifth graders Law Day

On May 15, The Frontier and Holt County Independent posted a story about a Law Day that was held for local fifth graders in which NCRA member Kami Hooey, RPR, CRR, an official court reporter from Atkinson, Neb.,  participated.

Read more.

Schools in the News

The court reporting program at MacCormac College, Chicago, Ill., was recently featured in a report regarding court reporting on Chicago Tonight which is a local PBS program.

Read more.

The Importance of belonging to state and national court reporting associations

Leah Hamre

By Leah Hamre

We’ve all heard it before, “Team work is dream work.” How about, “None of us is as smart as all of us,” a quote from Ken Blanchard? Or, as Helen Keller stated, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much”?

Being a part of an organization opens up doors that you may not have known existed and exposes you to opportunities, ideas, and people that challenge you and make you a better person.  I’m attending Anoka Technical College in Minnesota, and I have quickly learned how important it is that we take care of each other and our profession.

Court reporting is not as prominent as nursing or information technology but it’s just as honorable and important. The best way to educate and inform others, as well as learn and grow as a professional, is by joining an organization like the National Court Reporter Association (NCRA).

NCRA is the pinnacle of court reporter associations as they set the standards for court reporters and captioners. This popular organization really has something for everyone. Throughout the year, you can stay involved through awards and contests, continuing education, and incredible networking opportunities.

NCRA started with a small group of passionate shorthand reporters more than 100 years ago. The first convention was in 1899 in Chicago, Ill., with an attendance of 156. Last year’s convention, held in New Orleans, La., hosted 1,072 of the best court reporters in the nation! The NCRA Convention & Expo offers training sessions on software, updates on the latest and greatest technology, speakers, tips and tricks for efficient writing, and games, all while offering credit toward continuing education. Registration is now available for the 2019 convention being held Aug. 15-18 in Denver, Colo.

On the other hand, not joining an organization gives you a lot less credibility when you have an opinion about our industry. I think Dale Carnegie said it best: “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain- and most fools do.” Have you ever noticed that the people who are always complaining aren’t doing anything to fix the problem?

If you’re unwilling to succumb to complacency and want to be the best person and reporter you can be, NCRA is the place to be. And don’t stop there, join as many organizations as possible. You can simply take advantage of the visibility and career opportunities or dive in and actively participate by becoming a mentor or joining a committee.

Whether you’re in school and wondering where you’ll land your dream job, looking for a change, or just want to help others, I urge you to invest in your future and mine, through NCRA membership.

Leah Hamre is a student at Anoka Technical College in Anoka, Minn.

Court reporting featured at local career fair

NCRA Director Cindy Isaacsen, RPR, a freelance court reporter from Shawnee, Kan., was featured in a photo and quoted in an article posted May 10 by The Miami County Republic,  about her participation in a recent career fair held a local middle school.

Read more.

Remaining dates for 2019 NCRA A to Z Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand online program announced

NCRA’s A to Z™ Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand online program offers the perfect opportunity for potential students to learn the alphabet in steno, write on a real machine, and decide if pursuing an education in court reporting or captioning is the right choice.

This free six-week program is a hybrid course combining both live online instructor sessions with videos and dictation materials for self-paced practice. The remaining dates for 2019 course offerings are listed below:

Summer
June 11 – July 23 — Asynchronous*

Fall
Aug. 21 – Sept. 25 — 8:30 p.m. ET**
Sept. 4 – Oct. 16 — Asynchronous*
Oct. 8 – Nov. 19 — 7 p.m. ET**

*Participants complete the program at their own pace during the six weeks
**Classes are held once a week for one hour over the course of six weeks

NCRA urges members to share this information with anyone who might be interested in pursuing a career in court reporting or captioning. For more information about the NCRA A to Z program, visit AtoZDiscoverSteno.org, or contact Ellen Goff, Assistant Director, Professional Development at schools@ncra.org. You can also find more information at Frequently Asked Questions.

Article about court reporting school spotlights captioner for Pittsburgh Pirates

RealClear Politics posted an article on April 16 about Nathan Sibley, York County, Pa., who entered the court reporting program at his local community college. Since graduation, he has earned the job of JumboTron captioner for the Pittsburgh Pirates major league baseball club after interning with the organization.

Read more.

SSC announces court reporting open house

The Illinois Patch.com reported on April 9 that the South Suburban College (SSC) is hosting a Court Reporting Open House on May 9 to showcase this unique profession and wide-open job market.

Read more.