NCRF announces 2017 Robert H. Clark Scholarship and New Professional Reporter Grant recipients

Valerie Melkus, RPR, Charleston, S.C., was named recipient of the 2017 New Professional Reporter Grant. The Foundation also announced that Laurel Stalnaker, a student from Sumner College in Portland, Ore., is the recipient of the 2017 Robert H. Clark Scholarship.

“I am honored and thrilled to be the recipient of the New Professional Reporter Grant, though I’m certain that every person who applied is just as deserving. Starting out as a new reporter is tough. Anyone who’s made it this far has been working his or her behind off,” said Melkus. “I’ve been using an old, noisy, slow, refurbished laptop for work. This grant will enable me to not only pay my bills, but I will finally be able to get myself a new computer. I am beyond grateful.”

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 active work in any of the career paths of judicial (official/freelance), CART, or captioning. Melkus, a graduate of the College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind., is the 13th recipient of NCRF’s New Professional Reporter Grant. She was recommended by J. Lynn Clark, RMR, president of Clark & Associates.

“I have been reporting and training new reporters since 1979. Valerie has been the most impressive new reporter I have ever had the pleasure to work with,” Clark wrote in her recommendation. “I feel like I have hit a court reporting home run with [Valerie]. She loves learning new things and implementing them in her writing. Her enthusiasm for court reporting is contagious!”

Laurel Stalnaker

Laurel Stalnaker

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. Stalnaker is the third recipient of this scholarship.

“I am humbled to have won this scholarship, and I am grateful to have been nominated by my instructor. It will allow me to invest in myself in my new profession,” said Stalnaker. “I have been in school for two years now, and since day one I have been using an older student steno machine. Lately it has been having connectivity issues during class and, even worse, during tests. Recently I have been looking to buy a newer model for reporting professionally since I am only three tests away from graduating, and this scholarship will allow me to start my career on a positive note. I am eager to invest in a newer model and to excel in my last exams before I graduate.”

Students are nominated by instructors or other officials at their schools. To be eligible, nominees must be NCRA members, enrolled in an NCRA-approved court reporting program, have passed at least one of their program’s Q&A tests at 200 words per minute, and possess a GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, among other criteria.

“Laurel has been, from day one, nothing less than a very devoted student. Her attendance has been superb, and her commitment to this program has never once wavered,” said Jacqueline Butler, CRI, who nominated Stalnaker. “She has stayed focused on the end result. I have no doubts whatsoever that she will make a great reporter. She takes her work very seriously and makes sure she learns all she can along the way. It’s wonderful to see her win this award!”

To learn more about NCRF’s scholarships and grants, visit NCRA.org/NCRF/Scholarships.

NCRF currently accepting nominations for scholarship and grant

The National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) is now accepting nominations for the Robert H. Clark Scholarship and the New Professional Reporter Grant. The deadline for both the scholarship and the grant is April 21.

The $2,000 Robert H. Clark Scholarship is in its third year and 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. In 1993, he donated his extensive collection of books, artifacts, and documents related to court reporting to NCRF to help establish a namesake library housed at NCRA headquarters in Reston, Va. This scholarship was made possible thanks to a generous donation by Donna Hamer, Clark’s cousin, made in 2015.

“I have never met people who wish you success as if it was their own until I chose court reporting as my career path. I have always felt support and encouragement by people in the court reporting profession, and I feel honored and grateful to have been awarded the Robert H. Clark Scholarship,” said Natasha Jones after receiving the scholarship in 2016. “I am in the home stretch of court reporting school, and this scholarship will help me pay for my last quarters in school as well as certification testing. I cannot wait to become a court reporter!”

Court reporting students must be nominated by an instructor or advisor and meet a number of specific criteria to be eligible, including:

  • enrollment in an NCRA-approved court reporting program
  • passing at least one of the court reporting program’s Q&A tests at a minimum of 200 words per minute
  • having a GPA of 3.5 or above, demonstrating the need for financial assistance
  • possessing the qualities exemplified by a professional court reporter, including attitude, demeanor, dress, and motivation

The New Professional Reporter Grant of $2,000 benefits a qualified new working reporter who has graduated from an NCRA-approved program within the past year, among other criteria.

“Being a new reporter can be a little intimidating because every day is something new and unknown, which is also what makes it so exciting,” said Cathy Carpenter, the 2016 recipient of the New Professional Reporter Grant. “One of the best things about court reporting is that there are so many people willing to help, teach, and do whatever is necessary to help new reporters, such as myself, succeed. Receiving this [grant] is a prime example of the support that is out there in our community, and I am extremely grateful for it as I am starting out in my career.”

NCRF’s scholarships and grant are supported by donations to the NCRF Angels Drive and other fundraisers. Recipients will be recognized at the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo., being held in Las Vegas, Nev., Aug. 10-13.

To learn more about the Robert H. Clark Scholarship or the New Professional Reporter Grant, and to find the nomination forms, please visit NCRA.org/NCRF/Scholarships.

NCRF announces 2016 student scholarship winners

The National Court Reporters Foundation has announced that Natasha Jones, a student from Hoffman Estates, Ill., who attends Prince Institute – Great Lakes, was named recipient of the 2016 Robert H. Clark Scholarship. The Foundation also announced the two recipients of the 2016 Student Intern Scholarships: Aspen Keech, a student from Pittsburgh, Pa., who attends the Community College of Allegheny County, and Stephen Sudano, a student from Bohemia, N.Y., who attends the Long Island Business Institute.

Annually through 2019, NCRF will randomly draw one recipient of the Robert H. Clark Scholarship from nominations that have been submitted to receive a $1,800 scholarship to support the remainder of his or her education. Students are nominated by instructors or other officials at their schools. To be eligible, nominees must be NCRA members, enrolled in an NCRA-certified court reporting program, have passed at least one of their program’s Q&A tests at 200 words per minute, and possess a GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, among other criteria. Jones is the second recipient of this award.

“I’m so excited and grateful to be the recipient of this scholarship. This scholarship will be very helpful in paying for my education,” said Sudano. “It feels really great to be entering a profession that includes such quality people. I’ve already met so many helpful and encouraging reporters through interning.”

Each year, NCRF awards two $1,000 scholarships to students who have completed or are currently performing the required internship portion of their court reporting program. They must also meet other specific criteria, including current membership in NCRA, enrollment in an NCRA-certified court reporting program, and a GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. A generous annual donation from the Reis Family Foundation helps fund these scholarships. Keech and Sudano are the 23rd and 24th recipients of this award.

To learn more about NCRF’s scholarships, visit NCRA.org/NCRF/Scholarships.

NCRF announces deadline for student scholarship and grant

Nominations are now being accepted by the National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) for the Student Intern Scholarship and Robert H. Clark Scholarship. The deadline for nominations is June 17.

Each year, NCRF awards two $1,000 scholarships to students who have completed or are currently performing the required internship portion of their court reporting program. They must also meet other specific criteria, including current membership in NCRA, having a grade point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, and attending an NCRA-certified court reporting program. A generous annual donation from the Reis Family Foundation helps fund these scholarships.

The Robert H. Clark Scholarship, in its second year, is awarded in the amount of $1,800 each year through 2019. Court reporting students must be nominated by an instructor or advisor and meet a number of specific criteria to be eligible, including enrollment in an NCRA-certified court reporting program, passing at least one of the court reporting program’s Q&A tests at a minimum of 200 words per minute, having a GPA of 3.5 or above, demonstrating the need for financial assistance, and possessing the qualities exemplified by a professional court reporter, including attitude, demeanor, dress, and motivation.

“As a hardworking young woman trying to balance being in school full time, being available to assist my parents, and running my own home on a tight budget, the lack of available funds can be the source of much stress and worry,” said Chaya Shusterman, the recipient of the first-ever scholarship in 2015. “Thanks to the generosity of the Robert H. Clark Scholarship, I received the relief I needed at just the right time! Thank you so much for assisting me in my journey to achieve my goals. I am deeply grateful.”

This 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. In 1993, he donated his extensive collection of books, artifacts, and documents related to court reporting to NCRF to help establish a namesake library that is housed at NCRA headquarters in Reston, Va. This scholarship was made possible thanks to a generous donation by Donna Hamer, Clark’s cousin, made in 2015.

The recipients of these awards will be recognized at the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo in Chicago, Ill.

To learn more about and apply for the Student Intern and Robert H. Clark scholarships, visit NCRA.org/NCRF.

Honoring the Clarks of court reporting

Last fall, the National Court Reporters Foundation established the Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute, which is dedicated to aiding the education of court reporting students and new professionals about professionalism, branding, and building a successful career. The Institute was officially unveiled during the Student Seminar Program at the 2015 NCRA Convention & Expo in New York City with an inaugural event that featured a panel on professional dress.

Named for the late Corrinne Clark — wife of the late Robert (Bob) H. Clark, NCRA’s longest tenured librarian-historian — the Institute was made possible by a generous donation made by Donna Hamer, Santa Paula, Calif., Bob’s cousin. At the same time, Hamer also made a generous donation to the Foundation to support a scholarship in honor of Bob. The scholarship will be awarded in the amount of $1,800 annually through 2019 to an eligible court reporting student. The fi rst scholarship was awarded by NCRF in September 2015.

“Corrinne loved the national court reporters [organization] with a capital L. She attended all the conferences with Bobby and shared his devotion to the court reporting profession,” said Hamer and noted that Corrinne often mentioned her wish to make a substantial contribution to NCRF. “When Corrinne passed away, I learned that I was one of her beneficiaries. I realized that I could make her wish come true. I was delighted that the Professionalism Institute could be named after her. Corrinne always supported the goal of being a professional in her own work, and she especially valued professionalism among Bob’s colleagues,” said Hamer.

Although NCRF Board of Trustees chair Jan Ballman, RPR, CMRS, Minneapolis, Minn., never had the pleasure of meeting Corrinne, she said that she feels strongly that Corrinne would be honored to have her legacy associated with an initiative focused on supporting and training the industry’s newest professionals and helping to ensure their long-term success in court reporting.

“The NCRF Trustees felt privileged to name the Professionalism Institute after Corrinne, especially in acknowledgment of and appreciation for a significant gift to the Foundation. We are grateful that Corrinne’s love for Bob, his profession, and especially NCRF led to her legacy gift to the Foundation,” Ballman said.

Although not a court reporter herself, as a journalist Corrinne actively kept up with current affairs and was active in politics, according to Hamer. She was a founding member of a women’s Los Angeles–based group that focuses on bringing political issues to its members and, in the early days of television, was an active participant in a number of shows as well as a choreographer for them. Hamer said that her love of dance led her to learn the native dances of Hawaii, which she later taught to students in the Los Angeles area.

“Those who knew Corrinne always remembered her flaming red hair, her beautiful smile, and her distinctive laugh. I’m certain Corrinne would be proud to have her name attached to the Professionalism Institute,” Hamer said. The Professionalism Institute’s first event, offered during the 2015 NCRA Convention & Expo, was well attended and featured a panel of professional court reporters discussing proper dress in the workplace. It included a stylist from Macy’s department store who offered tips to achieve a professional look on a budget.

In the future, the Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute will secure articles for publication in the JCR that will be related to the court reporting and captioning profession. The articles will address student and new professional–specific issues to provide a resource for those beginning their professional careers. The Professionalism Institute will also support various presentations at future NCRA Conventions & Expos.

ABOUT THE CLARKS

Corrinne Clark was born in San Diego, Calif., and grew up in the Ocean Beach area. She attended St. Mary’s Academy as a child and graduated from Immaculate Heart High School, where she played on the school’s tennis team. Although her parents wanted her to enter the convent, Corrinne chose journalism instead and attended Los Angeles City College. There she met her future husband, Robert H. Clark, who was also a journalism student.
After marrying, the Clarks lived in Long Beach. During World War II, Bob joined the U.S. Coast Guard as a court reporter while Corrinne worked for the Long Beach Independent, which later became the Long Beach Press Telegram.

A lover of dance, Corrinne began work as a choreographer for a number of early television shows. She was also a participant on Art Linkletter’s People are Funny and House Party, as well as Groucho Marx’s You Bet Your Life.

In 1993, Bob, who voluntarily served as NCRA’s librarian-historian for 26 years, donated his extensive collection of books, artifacts, and documents related to court reporting to the National Court Reporters Foundation to establish the Robert H. Clark Library, which is housed at NCRA’s headquarters in Reston, Va. He was honored with the title of Librarian-Historian Emeritus in 1997. He passed away in
2000. Corrinne passed away in 2005.

“Robert Clark was totally dedicated to court reporting and curious about  everything,” said Hamer, Robert’s cousin who made the generous donation to support the scholarship in his honor. “He always wanted to know how things worked and how to use words to explain it. Everywhere he went, he looked for new ways to use words and interesting court reporting tools.”

For more information, visit the Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute.