Two Angels Win Trips

By Jill Parker Landsman

Two National Court Reporters Foundation Angel donors will be packing their bags after they each won a weeklong vacation. Lori M. Bryant, RPR, CRR, from San Antonio, Texas, will be heading to Mexico, and Karen L. Tyler, RDR, CRR, CRC, from Shreveport, La., will be enjoying a trip to Lake Tahoe.

The trips were prizes in the drawing for current NCRF donors who have donated a minimum of $1,000 to NCRF within the year, earning the “Angel” status. NCRA and NCRF Interim Executive Director Dave Wenhold selected the two winners during the Facebook Live random drawing on Sept. 4.

Wenhold thanked the more than 120 eligible Angel donors for their generous support. “Your donation will allow us to continue with the Oral History Program, the A to ZTM scholarships, and some new scholarships that we will offer in 2020,” he said.

“I am astonished to have won this amazing Mexican getaway,” Bryant said. “I just wanted to donate and give back to this wonderful profession that has allowed me 30 years of great opportunities. And to find out that I was in a drawing and won, I was just not expecting it. Thank you, NCRF, for this wonderful gift.  This profession is so worthy of giving back to even without winning a prize.”

Tyler learned her good news from her assistant, as she was reporting a case when the call came in. “I am beyond thrilled to have won this opportunity to spend time in Lake Tahoe,” she said. “My husband and I have never been.  We have often talked about making this trip, and now it’s a reality! I can’t wait to thank Sandy for this generous donation to the Angels foundation. I am proud to be a member of this outstanding group of stenographers!”

Wenhold also thanked the two Foundation supporters who donated the vacations: Denise Paternoster, who offered the Mexican resort trip; and Sandy Vanderpol, FAPR, RMR, CRR, who offered the Lake Tahoe trip.

The National Court Reporters Foundation oversees Oral History Programs for Veterans History, Holocaust Survivors, Legal Aid History, and Hard-of-Hearing Heroes. In addition, NCRF offers a recognition award, a VIP luncheon for Angel donors, scholarships, and professional networking with like-minded court reporters and captioners. For more information, contact Jill Parker Landsman at jlandsman@ncra.org.

NCRF Angels get two chances to win a getaway

Angels are the heart of the National Court Reporters Foundation. With the support of these donors of $1,000 and higher, NCRF provides education, scholarships, and special training to help preserve the past, promote the profession, and advance court reporting and captioning into the future.

Donors who have contributed $1,000 – $4,999 to the Foundation in the past 12 months by Sept. 3 will be entered to win a trip to Mexico or Lake Tahoe! The drawing will take place live on Sept. 4 on NCRA’s Facebook page.

Thanks to the generosity of NCRA member Denise Paternoster, RPR, Staten Island, N.Y., the winner of the weeklong Mexico getaway will select a trip from among these three luxurious spa resorts:

  • Villa Del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa Cabo San Lucas
  • Villa Del Palmar Beach Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta
  • Villa del Palmar Flamingos Beach Resort & Spa Riviera Nayarit in Nuevo Vallarta

Thanks to the generosity of NCRA member Sandy VanderPol, FAPR, RMR, CRR, Lotus, Calif., one of the winners will get to discover the treasures of Lake Tahoe for a one-week vacation.

(Travel expenses are not included.)

To become an NCRF Angel, click here to make a single donation of $1,000 or more, or choose to make a monthly recurring donation of $83.34 or more, or a quarterly recurring donation of $250 or more.

For more information, please reach out to Jill Landsman, Development Relations Manager, at jlandsman@ncra.org.

NCRF announces Trustees for 2019-2020

2019-2020 NCRF Board of Trustees
2019-2020 NCRF Board of Trustees

The NCRA Board of Directors has elected the following individuals to serve on the 2019-2020 National Court Reporters Foundation Board of Trustees:

  • Pat Graves, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, Monument, Colo.
  • Early Langley, RMR, Danville, Calif.
  • Marjorie Peters, RDR, CRR, CRC, Pittsburgh, Pa.

The newly elected Trustees began their terms after being inducted into service at the Foundation’s annual Board of Trustees meeting, which took place in conjunction with the 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo in Denver, Colo.

The new Trustees will be joining current NCRF Trustees:

  • Chair Tami Keenan, FAPR, RPR, CPE, Battle Creek, Mich.
  • Chair-elect Catherine J. Phillips, FAPR, RMR, CMRS, Ocala, Fla.
  • Secretary-Treasurer Kristin M. Anderson, RPR, San Antonio, Texas
  • Mary P. Bader, RPR, Eau Claire, Wis.
  • Michael A. Bouley, RDR, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • Danielle Griffin, RPR, Phoenix, Ariz.
  • Catherine J. Phillips, FAPR, RMR, CMRS, Ocala, Fla.
  • Cregg Seymour, Baltimore, Md.
  • Karen Wimmer, RPR, CRR, CMRS, Urbandale, Iowa

For information about the National Court Reporters Foundation and its sponsorship opportunities, contact Mary Petto, Senior Director of External Affairs at mpetto@ncra.org.

You can register on-site for the 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo

You can register on-site for the 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo taking place Aug. 15-18 in Denver, Colo.

Catch the excitement of this year’s Convention & Expo with highlights that include the Premier Session with keynote speaker Erin Brockovich, nationally recognized consumer advocate, environmental advocate and inspiration for the Academy Award-winning film.

On-site registration hours:
Thursday, Aug. 15 from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 16 from 6:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, Aug 17 from 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The all-inclusive schedule is sure to appeal to anyone in the court reporting, captioning, and legal video professions, as well as related educational arena.

Dozens of vendors will showcase the latest in new products and services specifically for the court reporting, captioning, and legal video professions, including software, equipment, support services, new products, and more.

Convention highlights include such ticketed networking opportunities as the Opening Reception, the Awards Luncheon, and the Member Recognition Gala. Throughout the Convention attendees can earn up to 1.175 CEUs.

And be sure to stop by the National Court Reporters Foundation booth to enter a raffle to win a Luminex steno machine.

For more information about NCRA’s 2019 Convention & Expo or to see the schedule, visit NCRA.org/Convention.

NCRF offers two chances to win big

Be sure to stop by the NCRF booth at NCRA’s 2019 Convention & Expo, taking place Aug. 15-18 at the Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center, to enter into two drawings for big prizes.

Once again, Stenograph has generously donated a Luminex shorthand machine, valued at more than $5,000, to be raffled off to aid the Foundation’s important work and programs that support the court reporting and captioning professions.

Raffle tickets are $50 each or three for $125 and can be purchased at the NCRF booth on the Expo floor. The drawing will be held on Saturday, Aug. 17, at the Member Recognition Gala: Denim and Diamonds ball being hosted by 2019-2020 NCRA President Max Curry, RPR, CRI. The winner need not be present to win.

Keep Your Angel Status Current and Get Two Chances to Win a Getaway!

Be sure you have made your donation of $1,000 or more to NCRF in the last 12 months by Sept. 3. Not only will you continue to receive the Angels Quarterly enewsletter, but thanks to generous Foundation supporters NCRF Trustee Sandy VanderPol, FAPR, RMR, CRR, Lotus, Calif., and Denise Paternoster, RPR, Staten Island, N.Y., you will also be entered to win a trip to Mexico or Lake Tahoe! Drawing will take place LIVE on Sept. 4 on NCRA’s Facebook page.

Visitors to the NCRF booth can also be among the first of the many NCRA members who will commit to donate $1,000 or more to support the Foundation’s 2020 Angel Drive. The gift provides a great tax write-off and a myriad of benefits, including a listing on the Angels poster at the booth and an invitation to attend the exclusive VIP Luncheon next year in Orlando, Fla.

Visit the NCRF booth to learn more about both of these opportunities to win big and, while you are there, learn more about how you can help the Association’s philanthropic arm do more through the many programs, scholarships, and grants it offers. This is also your best chance to purchase the 2019 Soar to New Heights Convention Commemorative Pin, which will be offered for $10 each. Attendees can buy past convention pins also.

Finally, become part of NCRA history by signing the Official Convention Register, a time capsule of sorts that has documented convention attendees since the early 1900s and is housed in NCRF’s Robert H. Clark Library at NCRA headquarters between conventions.

For more information about NCRF programs or its booth at convention, contact Jill Landsman, Development Relations Manager, at jlandsman@ncra.org.

NCRF announces 2019 scholarship and grant recipients

The National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) has announced the winners of the 2019 Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship, the Robert H. Clark Scholarship, and the New Professional Reporter Grant.

Nicole Duzich, from Glendora, Calif., a student at Tri Community Adult Education in Covina, Calif., was named recipient of the 2019 Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship. The Foundation also announced that Amanda Johnson, from Rathdrum, Idaho, a student at Brown College of Court Reporting in Atlanta, Ga., is the recipient of the Robert H. Clark Scholarship, while Meredith Seymour, from Madison, Wis., an official court reporter for Waukesha County Courthouse, District 3, was named recipient of the 2019 New Professional Reporter Grant. The recipients were selected by random drawing using a true random statistical tool.

Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship

Nicole Duzich

“This scholarship means so much to me. After finishing my job of six years as a bungee jumping instructor, this scholarship will really be an immense support in helping me finish up school as well as pursue my RPR simultaneously,” said Duzich. “I am really dedicating all I have to practicing and doing what I need to do to get myself graduated and certified. I hope I can not only make my family and friends proud, but myself as well.”

Duzich said she was introduced to a stenograph machine in high school when she saw a captioner providing CART for a student in her class. She said that experience stayed in the back of her mind through college and even after college until a friend of hers began court reporting school. Although her friend didn’t finish, Duzich said she became very interested.

“I received my bachelor’s degree in psychology, got my bartending certification, and have thrown thousands of people off of a bridge, but this career path would prove to get my brain working in ways I wouldn’t have imagined. My obsession with puzzles definitely helped with learning theory, and my competitive spirit helps me with testing. Although failing isn’t particularly my favorite thing to do, I’ve learned to appreciate the pure difficulty of this program and cannot wait to one day look back and see what I have accomplished,” she said. 

Duzich said that her future plans include beginning her professional career taking depositions and then possibly moving into CART captioning. “I live an active lifestyle and love to do many things spontaneously so I think the freelancing will accommodate my schedule and at the same time help me get my feet wet in the profession at my own pace. I am extremely eager and excited to start working in the field that I have dedicated these years of schooling towards,” she added.

The Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship is a $2,000 award, given annually to a high-achieving court reporting student. This scholarship honors the late Frank Sarli, a court reporter who was committed to supporting students through years of service on NCRA’s committees and boards that guide the education of court reporting students. Recipients are nominated by their schools and must meet specific criteria, including:

  • Having a GPA of at least 3.5
  • Passing at least one of the court reporting program’s Q&A tests at a minimum of 200 wpm
  • Possessing all the qualities exemplified by a professional court reporter, including professional attitude, demeanor, dress, and motivation

Robert H. Clark Scholarship

Amanda Johnson

“This scholarship is such a blessing to me and my family. Receiving this scholarship is going to help ease some of the financial burdens on my family and help me get started in my court reporting career,” said Amanda Johnson. “Money has always been tight, and all I want to do is be the best provider for my family. Receiving this scholarship has really taken quite a bit of stress off my shoulders and will help me continue going forward in my career,” she added. 

Johnson said that the legal system has always been a part of her life given that her father was a police officer for 31 years. “We had the most amazing support system growing up, and it always felt like everyone was part of a big family. I wanted to walk in my father’s footsteps but didn’t feel being an officer was a good fit for me,” Johnson said.

“My grandma was the one who actually mentioned court reporting to me, so when I truly started looking into this career, I knew this was what I wanted to do. It has been quite the ride, but I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Even when I felt defeated, there was always someone there cheering me on and helping me fight through any and all struggles; I never felt like I was alone. And when it was time for me to start my externship, the amount of joy I felt was unbelievable. Nothing has truly compared to the feeling I felt when going to my first deposition. I still have quite a ways to go before I am officially a court reporter, but I am confident that I will do amazing in this career,” Johnson added. 

Johnson said she plans to take the Washington State exam as soon as she can and will pursue freelance work first. “The reporter I have been shadowing has been so amazing and so supportive. I will most likely be working for her as soon as I receive my license. It’s been a slow process for me due to working a full-time job throughout my schooling, but I am right at the end of it all and will be able to officially say that I am a court reporter real soon.” 

According to her instructor, Julie Morris, director of education at Brown College of Court Reporting, Johnson is a dedicated student who has pressed on despite numerous challenges. “She has managed to keep a solid 3.76 GPA and to soldier on through the plateaus that occur in court reporting school,” Morris said. “As a resident of northern Idaho, her goals are to practice in both Idaho and Washington. She is currently in her externship and is anticipating graduation in the near future. I couldn’t be happier to have nominated Amanda and to see her win this wonderful scholarship!”

The $2,000 Robert H. Clark Scholarship is named for the late Robert H. “Bob” Clark, a court reporter from Los Angeles, Calif., who was dedicated to preserving the history of the profession. Johnson is the fifth recipient of this scholarship.

In 2015, Clark’s family made a generous donation to NCRF to honor him, and NCRF created the Robert H. Clark Scholarship. Students are nominated by instructors or other officials at their schools. To be eligible, nominees must be NCRA members, be enrolled in a court reporting program, must have passed at least one of their program’s Q&A tests at 200 words per minute, and must possess a GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, among other criteria.

The New Professionals Grant

Meredith Seymour

Meredith Seymour said that early on as a student at Lakeshore Technical College, she became very grateful for the generosity and support of NCRF. While working two jobs and attending classes, she shared that there were days when the coursework and practicing became overwhelming. But, she added, meeting fellow NCRA members and receiving support from them at conventions always helped her keep her chin up, especially their encouragement that the time and resources she was investing to pursue a career in court reporting would one day turn into a wonderful profession.

“Receiving this scholarship is a privilege that I am very thankful for. Upon graduating this past December and immediately getting hired as a district reporter for the state of Wisconsin Circuit Court System, I incurred many expenses,” Seymour said. “The grant from NCRA will be put to good use in paying off the debt from purchasing a steno machine, computer, software, and residual student loans.”

Seymour said that court reporting became a second career for her after first working as an American Sign Language interpreter for about four years, and as a captionist using a method called C-Print for deaf and hard-of-hearing students at a regional technical college. After struggling to find gainful employment as an interpreter, she said a former colleague told her about stenography. 

“We both enrolled in the court reporting program at Lakeshore Technical College in the fall of 2015. I chose to pursue a career in court reporting, because the job market in this profession had very attractive statistics, and the desired skillset would also allow me to work as a CART captioner, a service that is in demand more than ever before,” she said.

Perseverance, devotion to coursework, and practice are critical fundamentals to students who are finishing up school and are about to enter the court reporting profession, Seymour advised.

“You’re not done progressing the minute you walk across that stage on graduation day. There’s so much learning and development that comes from job experience. Just like any other career, there will be good days and there will be bad days. As each week passes by, you will gain more skill and confidence. Stay humble, keep a positive attitude, and continue to create new goals for yourself. This profession is alive and well, and the rewards of this profession are fruitful.  The best part is you’re about to become part of a community of reporters and captionists who are exceptionally supportive of each other. So get ready for some fun, some challenges, and a whole lot of growth along the way,” she adds.

“Meredith distinguished herself immediately as a highly motivated individual that brings an infectious, positive attitude to the job, while maintaining a strong personal demeanor,” said Michael G. Neimon, the district court administrator who nominated Seymour. Neimon noted in his letter of recommendation that Seymour began working as an official court reporter upon graduation from school and was brought on to fill a position vacated due to medical leave.

“Meredith did not have the benefit of a slow mentoring process that eased her into a system that is not very tolerant of people who are unable to perform what is expected of them,” Neimon said. “The court system can be an environment that is cold and intimidating. Meredith has weathered that with a combination of a high level of skill, a strong work ethic, a team approach, and professionalism.”

NCRF awards the annual New Professional Reporter Grant to a reporter who is in his or her first year of work, has graduated within a year from an NCRA-approved court reporting program, and meets specific criteria, including a grade point average of 3.5 or above, a letter of recommendation, and actively working in any of the career paths of judicial (official/freelance), CART, or captioning. The grant is in the amount of $2,000.

NCRF scholarships are funded by generous donations. To learn more about NCRF’s scholarships and grants, visit NCRA.org/NCRF.

NCRF Angel Gather Profile: Rich Germosen

Rich Germosen

Te National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) is pleased to introduce the Angels community to Angel Gatherers Committee member, Rich Germosen, RDR, CRR. Germosen is a freelance realtime stenographer who does most of his work in New York City and New Jersey. We sat down with him to learn a little more about him and his connection and commitment to the Foundation.

NCRF: First, tell us a little more about you. Is your steno work all about work?

Germosen: Actually, no. I run a steno practice page on Facebook where we encourage each other to practice daily 15 minutes minimum per day for 100-day runs without missing a day. It’s really fun and productive! I also participate in the Speed and Realtime Contests each summer at the NCRA Conventions.

NCRF: So how long have you been engaged in and with the Foundation?

Germosen: I am in my third year as an Angel and I started volunteering to help find more Angels just last year.

NCRF: Have you held other roles at NCRA?

Germosen: Yes, I am currently a member of the new NCRA STRONG Committee, and I’m also on the NCRA Membership Task Force. I am proud of both of these roles as well as my Angel recruitment role for the Foundation. Being involved at this level is very energizing, and I enjoy helping to make an impact.

NCRF: Why is serving on the Angel Gatherers committee important to you?

Germosen: The National Court Reporters Foundation is so important to round out offerings available to the profession. Not only does it help fill the workforce gap with programs like the A to ZIntro to Steno Machine Shorthand program and scholarships, it also helps preserve the history of steno and gives its talents to the country. I particularly love the NCRF Oral Histories Program and the Veterans History Project, in which the stories of veterans are taken down and preserved in the Library of Congress. I’ve had a really good run in court reporting over the last 27 years. Being an Angel Gatherer is a small way of giving back to the profession.

Leaving a lasting impact on the profession through NCRF’s Legacy Society

Debra Cheyne providing realtime in Judge Kenneth Stewart’s courtroom during the documentary film, On the Record.

Leaving a legacy lets us be sure that we can have a continuing impact on the future of what matters to us most for generations to come. The National Court Reporters Foundation Legacy Society is a way for NCRA members to give back to the court reporting and captioning professions by naming the philanthropic arm of the National Court Reporters Association as a beneficiary in their estate planning. Choosing to be part of the NCRF Legacy Society ensures a donor that their commitment to supporting the future of the profession will continue well after they are gone.

The impetus for the NCRF Legacy Society followed a donation made by NCRA member and past president Rachel Lerschen, FAPR, RMR, a freelance court reporter from Bloomington, Minn., who passed away in 1996. Prior to her death, Lerschen arranged for a contribution to the Foundation in her will and, thus, became the first donor through her estate planning.

Today, more than a dozen NCRA members have included the Legacy Society as part of their estate planning. Most recently, NCRA member and NCRF Trustee Debra Cheyne, MA, CSR, a captioner from Sherwood, Ore., who is also certified in Washington, was the most recent NCRA member to make a provision in her estate planning to benefit the Legacy Society.

“I first learned about the Legacy Society when reading the JCR magazine, and I noticed a page dedicated to a colleague’s legacy provision,” said Cheyne, who has worked as a realtime captioner for 25 years.

“I, like most people, want to leave the world a better place for having been given the gift of life. The National Court Reporters Foundation’s philanthropic programs make our world a better place. Becoming a member of the Legacy Society helps ensure the next generation of court reporters will have the support through scholar-ships and grants to succeed in continuing our role as verbatim guardians of the record.”

Cheyne said that she believes that one of the greatest values of the Legacy Society is providing role models of good leadership, service above self, and promoting the professional of the future.

Donations to NCRF through the Legacy Society or any other estate planning program can be designated as a specific amount or a percentage, either through a final will or an insurance policy. Including charitable donations in a final will can also offer the giver a number of benefits, such as protecting their assets by controlling where they will go, reducing estate taxes, and avoiding capital gains taxes. Donations to NCRF can take the form of the following:

■Outright Gifts: Outright gifts can be used immediately. A gift of appreciated stock or mutual fund shares can be particularly advantageous from a tax standpoint since capital gains tax is avoided.

■Bequests: A bequest to NCRF’s Legacy Society in a will allows a person to leave a particular asset, a percentage of an estate, or a portion of assets remaining after other specific bequests for family members have been made. A bequest to NCRF’s Legacy Society is fully deductible for estate tax purposes.

■Life Insurance: Naming NCRF as the beneficiary of all or a portion of a life insurance policy is another option. Amounts left to NCRF are fully deductible for estate tax purposes.

Supporting NCRF through its Legacy Society or any of its other giving programs also supports several goals in the Foundation’s strategic plan. Among those goals are building and operating a sustainable organization that can continue to collect and preserve the history of the profession, increasing annual funding to create and grow new programs that advance the court reporting and captioning professions, increasing funding for the expansion of NCRA’s A to ZTM Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program, and increasing the amount of financial assistance awards such as scholarships and grants given over the next several years.

“My court reporting career nurtures a lifelong curiosity to continually learn; every day there’s a different and unique ‘topic,’” said Cheyne. “As an officer of the court, our certification requires that we be unbiased. Standing (but usually sitting!) in the middle, hearing ‘both sides,’ promulgates a broader world view, increases tolerance and understanding. My court reporting profession has taught me the value of walking a mile in another’s shoes.”

Cheyne, along with and her late husband, attorney Jeffrey McCauley Cheyne, have also supported NCRF as Major Gift and NCRF Angel donors.

“Giving back to a profession that’s been so good to me not only helps others, it also provides tangible and positive effects on the future. In college, I was re-quired to take Theology. One concept from that study that’s stuck with me is bodhisattva: You reach one hand up for help and one hand down to help others,” added Cheyne. If you would like information on how to leave a lasting legacy and become a member of NCRF’s Legacy Society, contact Mary Petto, deputy director of NCRF, at 800-272-6272, ext. 122, or by email at mpetto@ncra.org

NCRA member quoted in article about the Veterans History Project

NCRA member Debbie Sabat, RPR, Trumbull County, Ohio, a probate court reporter, was quoted in an article posted May 28 by the Tribune Chronicle about NCRA’s involvement in the Veterans History Project program.

Read more.

Honor Holocaust Remembrance Day by providing transcription

“For the dead and the living, we must bear witness. Not only are we responsible for the memories of the dead, we are responsible for what we do with those memories.”     Elie Wiesel

The internationally recognized date for Holocaust Remembrance Day is Thursday, May 2. As the world marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, court reporters and captioners can honor this remembrance by volunteering to transcribe a prerecorded interview with a Holocaust survivor.

As part of the Oral Histories program of the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF), NCRF has an agreement with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D. C., to have court reporters transcribe the histories of Holocaust survivors. The museum currently has a registry of more than 200,000 records related to survivors and their families from around the world, and NCRF is honored to be able to provide assistance in transcribing them for posterity and public research.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum was dedicated in 1993 as a living memorial to the Holocaust. The museum inspires citizens and leaders worldwide to confront hatred, prevent genocide, and promote human dignity. Its far-reaching educational programs and global impact are made possible by generous donors.

PDCs for participation

Certified court reporters will receive 0.25 professional development credits (PDCs) for each transcription, up to a maximum of 1.0 PDC in their certification cycle.

To participate in NCRF’s Holocaust Survivors Oral Histories Program, please email Sharon Davoren, Foundation Assistant, at sdavoren@ncra.org.

The museum’s transcript guidelines can be found here.