NCRA announces first A to Z Scholarship recipients

Winners of the first NCRA A to Z™  Scholarships have been announced. The recipients are students who have completed an NCRA A to Z ™ Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program and are enrolled in a court reporting program. Scholarships in the amount of $500 have been awarded to the following students:

  • Stacie Cain, a student at the College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind.;
  • Tonya L. Cross-Casado of San Antonio College in San Antonio, Texas;
  • Jennie Dunlap, a student at Hardeman School of Court Reporting and Captioning in Tampa, Fla.;
  • Camryn Dunne, a student at Des Moines Area Community College in Newton, Iowa.;
  • Alicia Floerchinger, a student at Alfred State College in Alfred, N.Y. “I took the NCRA A-Z program in hopes to get a feel for the machine before starting school. Not only was I able to experience that, but the A-Z program taught me key combinations, along with how to write the alphabet on the steno machine. Having this knowledge made me feel confident in my first semester of court reporting. The A-Z program was the greatest opportunity I had before pursuing my career in court reporting.”
  • Marie Forman, a student at Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. “After years of working retail, I wanted a change, but wasn’t sure what career would be right for me. At the NAIT open house, I was intrigued by captioning and court reporting, but still knew very little about them. It was the NCRA A to Z program that really got me interested in pursuing stenography further, and it also helped me keep up with the first few weeks of a very fast-paced college course.”
  • Jennifer Gale, a student at Community College of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, Pa.;
  • Jana Oelbaum, a student at Long Island Business Institute, Commack, N.Y. “I can’t speak highly enough about the NCRA A to Z program, and I recommend it to anyone who is curious about the court reporting profession.   Not only was the material presented in clear and organized lessons, but we also got to hear from working professionals and ask questions of them during live web seminars.  I am certain that my participation and completion of this course put me at a great advantage once I enrolled in my first theory class at school.   I was already familiar with the steno machine, the steno alphabet, and how to write basic words which those letters and keystrokes make.”;
  • Diego Ramirez, a student at San Antonio College, San Antonio, Texas. “The A-Z Program was a wonderful introduction into the professional world of court reporting for me.”; and
  • Karlye Walton, a student at Des Moines Community College, Newton, Iowa. “Nothing could have prepared me or helped solidify my decision more than participating in the A to Z program. I strongly encourage anybody interested in this career path to participate in this class beforehand!”

To be eligible to apply for the NCRA A to Z™ Scholarship, students must meet the criteria below: 

  • Have completed an NCRA A to Z™ Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program;
  • Have received an NCRA A to Z™ Certificate of Completion;
  • Have attained an exemplary academic record;
  • Have passed one skills test writing 60-100 words per minute at the time of submission.

For more information on the NCRA A to Z™ Scholarship, please contact the Education Department at

NCRA announces 2019 CASE Student Scholarships

NCRA has announced the winners of the 2019 CASE (Council on Approved Student Education) Student Scholarships. The winners were chosen based on their winning entries in an essay writing contest. The essay question was “Describe the importance of earning your Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) certification as a new professional.”

Each year, CASE awards five scholarships to students who attend an NCRA-approved court reporting program. To be eligible to apply, students must also hold a student membership in NCRA, have attained an exemplary academic record, and passed one skills test writing at between 140 and 180 words per minute. Students are also required to submit a speed verification form, three recommendation forms, a copy of their most recent transcript, and an essay in response to a topic chosen by members of CASE.

Philip A. Dawson

Philip A. Dawson, a student at the Community College of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, Pa., secured the top spot by winning the $1,500 scholarship. “I am honored to be a recipient of the CASE Student Scholarship. My training as a court reporter has been a life changing experience. The teachers and reporters I have met along the way have been truly great people that earnestly want me to succeed and I am grateful for their support,” he said. “This scholarship is a testament to their support and a tremendous help to me and my family, as it will aide in the transition from school to my new career as a court reporter and will allow us to care for our needs while also enable us to spend value time in our volunteer work.”

Lora Zabiran

Recipient of the $1,000 scholarship was Lora Zabiran, a student at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. “Winning this scholarship has made me feel included and not forgotten being only the second Canadian recipient so far,” said Zabiran. “I am honored by being chosen, and I’m thankful for the prize.”

Julie Layton

Julie Layton, a student at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, said she was both thrilled and honored to be the recipient of a $750 scholarship. “This award is helping to pay for my start-up equipment which a great start to my career,” she said. “Thank you for this opportunity you have given me.”

Patricia Lopez

The essay written by Patricia Lopez, a student at the College of Court Reporting, Valparaiso, Ind., earned her a $500 CASE scholarship. “Receiving the scholarship will help me accomplish my dream of becoming a court reporter and will provide me the opportunity to create a better life for my family,” she said. “I love the court reporting profession, and it is truly an honor to be part of this community,” Lopez added.

Lydia Palcuk, a student at MacCormac College, Chicago, Ill., was awarded a $250 scholarship. In her essay, Palcuk wrote that earning her RPR is a goal she cannot wait to accomplish. She recently passed her 180 words per minute speed and noted that she loves getting to see the progress she is making every day through her hard work.

Lydia Palcuk

“As important as it is to get through school, looking toward the goal of becoming a RPR is also vital,” Palcuk wrote. “I want to be as certified as I possibly can be in my career, and that is why getting the RPR means the world to me. When you earn that certification, you have the confidence to know you are accredited I your career.”

The winners will be recognized at an awards luncheon being held at NCRA’s 2019 Convention & Expo being held Aug. 15-18 in Denver, Colo.

For more information about the CASE Scholarships, contact Ellen Goff, NCRA Assistant Director, Professional Development at, or visit

NCRA student member featured in business article

JCR logoNCRA student member Abby Cook, a student in the court reporting program at the Community College of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, Pa., was recently featured in an article about career changers. Cook is a cousin of Lisa Nagy-Baker, RDR, CRR, a freelance reporter from Annapolis, Md., and NCRA past president.

Read more.

Winning school claims prize

image_mc2_squareLast year, the Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, Pa., won a challenge set by NCRA to help boost student membership with the association. Last week, students at CCAC celebrated that win with a day-long, specially tailored mini convention provided to them by NCRA. CCAC was one of 22 NCRA participating schools to join the challenge and won for successfully encouraging 100 percent of CCAC students to hold membership in the association.

“More than 35 court reporting students attended the event,” said Cynthia Bruce Andrews, NCRA’s Director of Professional Development Programs, who was on-site to represent the association. “Everyone found the information shared by the presenters very helpful. The enthusiasm shown by the students and administration was contagious.”

The day’s schedule of events included sessions that addressed tips for test taking, planning for success in the court reporting profession, comma basics, a luncheon, and door prizes and giveaways throughout the day.

“CCAC is so grateful to NCRA for hosting this mini convention,” said Marybeth Johnson, CRI, the school’s court reporting program director. “The speakers were diverse in their topics, the students engaged, and the door prizes greatly appreciated.”

Among the presenters during the day were Marybeth Everhart, RPR, CRI, CPE, national marketing manager for RealtimeCoach, who led a session about test-taking skills for online test takers. Also on the schedule was veteran teacher and author Margie Wakeman Wells, CRI, who taught a two-part session on the proper use of commas. Wells, who serves as an online education consultant for the College of Court Reporting in Hobart, Ind., is also the author of several punctuation and grammar books including Court Reporting: Bad Grammar/Good Punctuation.

NCRA Vice President Nativa Wood, RDR, CMRS, a retired official court reporter from Harrisburg, Pa., also addressed students at the event and provided tips, advice, and insights in a session entitled “Planning for Success.”

image_mc9_square“Students are so appreciative when we do events at their school. Hearing about test taking, planning for success, and, of course, grammar from industry professionals keeps them engaged and moving toward their goal,” Wood said. “NCRA recognizes that when we engage students during their time in school, we are setting the stage for those students to become lifelong members.”

Prizes given away included $200 donated by Karen Nickel, owner of Nickel Reporting Services, Pittsburg, Pa., whose daughter, Sara, is a CCAC student. The $200 was won by student Jill Smith, while student Liz Kapp, winner of a set of drill books donated by Wells, exclaimed, “I love drills!”

“Who knew that our students could engage in comma dialogue for close to four hours?” said Johnson, who was presented with a poster from the students at the event’s close.

“The mini conference started with the Steno BE: and each student filled in the blank, for example: Be motivated, Be fast, Be kind, and so on. It was a wonderful day,” said Johnson.

For more information about NCRA’s mini conventions, contact Cynthia Andrews at

NCRF announces 2014 NCRF Student Intern Scholarship recipients

NCRF awards two $1,000 Student Intern Scholarships annually, selected by random drawing. Students must have completed or be currently performing the required internship portion of their court reporting program, among other requirements. Kelly Greer of the Community College of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, Penn., and Rebecca Russo of Gadsden State Community College, Gadsden, Ala., are this year’s winners.

For more information about NCRF scholarships and awards, click here.

NCRA goes to students with mini conventions

In 2010, NCRA’s Education Department began to reach out to students by hosting mini conventions on the campuses of court reporting schools in an effort provide them with additional re­sources and the opportunity to meet and network with working professionals, educators, and vendors of products and services that support the court reporting field.

Since the start of the program, the Association has hosted be­tween two and four mini conventions each year, and the response has been overwhelming, according to Lynette Eggers, CRI, CPE, NCRA’s assistant director for Educational Services. Even better than that, the events have proven to be priceless to students.

“Once a school is chosen as a mini convention site, NCRA’s Education Department works with the school’s president and other representatives to develop a tailored program that includes a keynote speaker and sessions that address a variety of aspects about the court reporting profession,” Eggers says.“The speakers include members of NCRA’s Board of Directors, various com­mittees, and professionals deemed experts in a particular area. In addition, we invite vendors to participate and include network­ing breaks throughout the event so that students have the oppor­tunity to talk with them and experience firsthand the products and services they offer.”

In 2013, NCRA hosted two mini conventions. The first, held in May at the Community College of Allegheny County in Penn­sylvania, featured keynote speaker Bill Weber, RDR, CRR, from Bethel Park, Pa., who shared his experience reporting on the 9/11 terrorist trials taking place at the U.S. Naval Station at Guantana­mo Bay in Cuba. Weber reinforced to students the importance of joining their state and national associations and associating with key groups of other reporters to ensure further development of their skills and their overall success as reporters.

“Building these relationships is especially important in this day and age when so many reporters no longer work in an office with other reporters. They need to have other reporters nearby to relate to, and associations are where that can take place,” Weber says. “While my presentation talked about the GTMO experience, I also shared how I become involved with my state association, which sent me to leadership training and resulted in my meet­ing Nancy Varallo, NCRA’s current president. I made friends with Nancy, and through that relationship, I met Lorene Eppley, RPR, a firm owner from Boston, Mass., who had landed the GTMO contract and eventually led to my contract for this work.”

Weber says that he also stressed to students the importance of earning professional certifications, pointing out that only re­porters who held the Certified Realtime Reporter certification from NCRA could apply for the GTMO team.

According to Weber, the students were truly engaged in each of the seminars that were presented at the May mini convention, which also covered overcoming the test-taking heebie-jeebies, the perspectives of a freelance court reporter working in Penn­sylvania, the genesis of CART reporting in the city of Pittsburgh, and planning for success.

“The greatest value students receive from attending an NCRA mini convention is the ability to speak with working re­porters from all facets of our industry and to learn about the various options that they have in our field after they graduate,” says Steve Zinone, RPR, from Canandaigua, N.Y., NCRA’s current Secretary-Treasurer. Zinone was the keynote speaker at a June mini convention at Long Island Business Institute in New York.

“These events are also extremely important because the stu­dents hear firsthand how experienced reporters also struggled at times in school, especially with speedbuilding skills, and what tech­niques they utilized to conquer those learning plateaus,” he added.

During his address at the Long Island Business Institute, Zinone says he emphasized the history of court reporting, which dates back centuries to when the Roman philosopher and politician Cicero relied on Tiro as his scrivener. He also stressed that students and working reporters are each part of the profession’s evolution. Zinone said he also stressed the importance of mentoring.

“I am fortunate to have four mentors who I reach out to on a weekly and sometimes on a daily basis for advice and guidance. I encourage every court reporting student to have one, not only during school but throughout their professional career,” he says.

In addition, students at the Long Island event attended ses­sions that addressed developing dictionaries in realtime report­ing, overcoming test anxiety, getting ready to work, becoming realtime-ready, and top tips for becoming a broadcast captioner.

Like Weber, Zinone says he also took the opportunity to encourage students to begin networking while they are still in school, suggesting that they join their state and national asso­ciations and attend NCRA conventions to network with other professionals and have the chance to kick the tires on all the latest technologies that vendors showcase.

“I also encourage students that when someone says to them that they’ll be replaced by an audio or video recording device, to relay this message to them:

“During the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on our country, there were 36 million deaf Americans and double that number of hard-of-hearing Americans who relied on the closed captioning that was being provided by an amazing group of professional stenographic reporters, who worked hour after hour, day after day, during one of the worst times in our great nation’s history. Now, imagine yourself as being one of those deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans, sitting in your apartment on the 45th floor, watching those terrible events unfold. Without the captioning, you would have thought the world was coming to an end — if not for those brave and heroic reporters providing that closed captioning, shedding tears just like all of us, as their hands moved swiftly and precisely over the keyboard that Ward Stone Ireland created for us to use in 1911, you would have been lost. We all have a skill that is truly a gift that cannot be replaced with a digital/video recording device. And if they don’t or can’t un­derstand that, remind them about 9/11.”


For more information about NCRA’s mini conventions, contact Lynette R. Eggers, NCRA’s Assistant Director of Educational Services at 800-272-6272 or 703-556-6272, ext.173.

Community College of Allegheny County wins NCRA student membership contest

The Community College of Allegheny County in Pittsburgh, Pa., scored first place with 100 percent of its students holding membership in NCRA’s first contest held to generate student affiliation with the association. The college earns a free mini convention from NCRA that will be tailored specifically to the school’s needs.

The contest, which ran in November through early December, invited schools to encourage their students to join NCRA. Each school’s percentage of students holding membership in NCRA was based upon the total enrollment number as reported in 2013, compared to the number of students associated with the school as of Dec. 16.  Each court reporting school was provided with a membership packet that included membership forms, contest rules, and information about the many benefits NCRA offers students, such as low membership fees of $6 per month, deep discounts in the association store, subsidized convention registration fees, and career resources for future job placement.

The competition drew a total of 22 participating court reporting schools across the nation. Earning second and third place were Gadsden State Community College in Gadsden, Ala., and Alfred State College in Alfred, N.Y., with a NCRA student membership rate of 70 percent and 64 percent respectively.

The winning school will not be eligible to compete again in the NCRA membership contest until 2016. The following rounded out the top 10 schools with highest percentage of student membership in NCRA during the contest:

Miami-Jacobs Career College in Independence, Ohio with a 60 percent student membership;

Realtime Center for Learning, Inc., in Westbury, N.Y., with 60 percent student membership;

College of Court Reporting, Inc., in Hobart, Ind., with 56 percent student membership;

Green River Community College in Auburn, Wash., with 44 percent student membership;

Anoka Technical College in Anoka, Minn., with 43 percent student membership;

Macomb Community College in Warren, Mich., with 36 percent student membership;

Sumner College in Portland, Ore., with a 32 percent student membership.


Other schools that reported NCRA student membership increases during the contest included:

Atlantic Technical Center, Coconut Creek, Fla.;

Bryan University, Los Angeles, Calif.;

MacCormac College, Chicago, Ill.;

Prince Institute, Schaumburg, Ill.;

Sage College, Moreno Valley, Calif.;

San Antonio College, San Antonio, Texas;

Sheridan Technical Center, Hollywood, Fla.;

South Coast College, Orange, Calif.;

Southwest Tennessee Community College, Memphis, Tenn.;

Stautzenberger College, Maumee, Ohio;

StenoTech Center Career Institute, Piscataway, N.J.