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 schools@ncra.org

The Long Island Business Institute calls on prospective students

The Long Island News recently posted a news release issued by NCRA on behalf of the Long Island Business Institute promoting court reporting as a career to perspective students. The release quotes Michelle Houston, assistant campus director, about the U.S. Department of Labor’s forecast for the court reporting profession being expected to rise by 14 percent between now and the year 2020.

Read more.








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.