The magic is at your fingertips

Join hundreds of NCRA members, court reporting students, teachers, and school administrators in Las Vegas, Nev., for the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo, Aug. 10-13.

Registration is now open for the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo being held Aug. 10-13 at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, Nev. Members can take advantage of special rates negotiated for their stay at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, the official hotel of the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo.

  • Sunday, Aug. 6 – Thursday, Aug. 10: $109 per night
  • Friday, Aug. 11 – Saturday, Aug. 12: $199 per night

Each year, Convention attendees note the many conveniences and benefits of staying at the event’s host hotel, including easy access to the Expo Hall and meeting spaces. This year’s host hotel promises the same and much more. Being connected to the Miracle Mile, guests of Planet Hollywood will also enjoy immediate access to some of the best dining, entertainment, and shopping opportunities that Las Vegas has to offer.

In addition, NCRA members who book their stays at Planet Hollywood & Casino also have a significant impact on helping to keep lodging and event costs down for future conventions by ensuring the Association meets its room block.

Con collage

“NCRA is committed to supporting its members by providing the best value possible. One such member benefit includes lower lodging rates and registration fees related to annual events,” said Chris Willette, RDR, CRR, CRC, NCRA President-elect. “We appreciate our members who are committed to supporting their Association by taking advantage of the special room rates negotiated on their behalf with Planet Hollywood. The 2017 Convention & Expo — ‘Magic at Your Fingertips!’ — is sure to be an exciting and fun-filled event.”

As always, the Convention schedule is jam-packed with educational sessions, the latest in new products and services showcased on the Expo Hall floor, and an array of networking opportunities that can’t be found anywhere else.

NCRA’s Education Content Committee has planned a series of carefully curated sessions to support the growth of every reporter and captioner, featuring can’t-miss sessions on business, captioning, judicial reporting, realtime, and technology. There will also be specialized programs, including the student seminar, Teachers Workshop, and the Certified Realtime Captioner Workshop. In addition, Margie Wakeman Wells, CRI, will again present her Punctuation Workshop.

The Convention will also feature a number of networking opportunities that will help attendees make contacts with fellow professionals from across the country and around the world. Networking sessions include:

  • the Opening Reception on Thursday evening
  • Friday morning’s Premier Session
  • the Saturday Awards Luncheon
  • the President’s Party on Saturday night

Attendees can also participate in the governance of the association by attending the Annual Business Meeting held on Thursday, where members can offer their opinions on the direction of the association and ask questions of the board members.

For more information or to register, visit NCRA.org/convention.

Other highlights:

  • Engage in some lively competition with the national Speed and Realtime Contests, or just come to watch some of the top reporters in the world battle it out for the trophy. (The winners are announced during the Awards Luncheon along with other distinguished guests.)
  • Participate in the governance of your Association at the Annual Business Meeting, where members can offer their opinions on the direction of the Association and ask questions of the Board members.
  • Don’t miss this year’s Premier Session. The Premier Session includes the installation of NCRA’s incoming Board of Directors, the announcements of NCRA’s Distinguished Service Award recipient (the Association’s highest honor) and NCRA’s Educator of the Year, and — of course — the keynote. This year our keynote is big — think Vegas, think positivity, think about the magic that is at your fingertips every day.
  • Find out what’s happening in each of the states during the National Committee of State Associations meeting. State leaders use this time to exchange information about the latest legislative and other issues affecting court reporting and captioning professionals.

INTERSTENO: Registration for Internet Keyboarding Competition closes April 16

Last chance to register for Intersteno’s Internet Keyboarding Competition and find out how your keyboarding skills rate around the world

Intersteno’s Internet Keyboarding Competition, held April 17 through May 9 via its website, allows steno machine writers and other keyboarders to test their skills and find out how they rate worldwide. Registration for Intersteno’s Internet Keyboarding Competition closes April 16. NCRA members who place in the contest will be listed in upcoming issues of the JCR and JCR Weekly.

“I really enjoyed competing in the Intersteno Internet contest,” says Mark Kislingbury, RDR, CRR, who participated for the first time in 2016. Kislingbury is a past NCRA Speed and Realtime Contest winner. “It was a completely new experience, learning to write realtime while reading from text (as opposed to hearing it dictated). It’s very challenging and certainly takes practice. The practice section of the website was very good, so I could practice a lot until I decided to take my test when I felt ready.”

“The Internet Competition will whet your appetite to participate in Intersteno,” says Tori Pittman, RDR, CRI, Chair of NCRA’s Intersteno Task Force.

Competitors will use the Taki software, which is a free download on the Intersteno website, and can participate on a day of their own choosing between April 1 and May 9. It’s up to the individual to decide how they want to enter the contest — whether using a steno machine or a regular keyboard.

“It was really nice seeing so many competitors around the world using mostly a computer keyboard and how amazingly fast they were,” said Kislingbury. “I hope to compete again this year and significantly increase my characters per minute.”

Court reporting programs can register groups of student and host a competition for a class or entire school in conjunction with the event. Court reporting students who are interested in participating should contact their instructor about registering.

To enter, competitors should provide the following information: 1) full name and address; 2) year of birth; 3) technology to be used (keyboard, stenotype machine); 4) language: choose mother-tongue or multilingual; and 5) the date they plan to take the test to intersteno@ncra.org. The cost of the contest in U.S. dollars is:

  • $6 for participation only in the mother tongue
  • $8 for competitors writing in two or more languages

Checks must be received by NCRA no later than April 14. Participants will be registered once the check is received. Checks should be made payable to NCRA and mailed to:

NCRA
Attention: Internet Competition
12030 Sunrise Valley Dr., Suite 400
Reston, VA 20191

More information on the contest is available at intersteno.org/intersteno-internet-contests/.

 

Interested in the Intersteno Internet Contest? Check out these stories:

Get a taste of international competition without leaving your office

NCRA’s Intersteno Task Force interviews the winners of the Intersteno Internet Keyboarding Contest

Things to learn, people to meet: Navigating the NCRA Convention & Expo as a student

Three smiling female students at the NCRA Convention & ExpoCourt reporting students agree: Meeting new people and learning new things are the best reasons to attend a conference like the NCRA Convention & Expo. Students who have attended one of the past Conventions share their advice for making the most out of the experience, just in time for the 2017 NCRA Convention & Expo, Aug. 10-13, at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.

Network, network, network

Without a doubt, networking is one of the top reasons to attend a convention, and the Convention atmosphere itself helps. “Conventions are just a lot of fun. Reporters have a great time when they’re all together,” says Sarah Hamilton, a student at the College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind.

The NCRA Convention & Expo is the largest gathering of court reporters and captioners in the country, so students have a good chance of meeting a wide range of working professionals, including people students may already be familiar with. “It’s great to put a face to a name,” said Hamilton.

“I’ve met people who’ve really made me feel lucky, and that I’ve chosen the right field,” said Kristina Carmody, a student at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio. Carmody mentioned a few examples of working reporters who have helped her with advice: “Steve Zinone, RPR, is the most humble, easiest person to talk to. He not only motivated me to continue the hard work, but he reminded of all the success we can really achieve if we continue to work for it. He is unbelievably positive and so nice.” She also mentioned Sue Terry, RPR, CRR. “She has advice and experience in every avenue, and she’s been so generous and sweet to me. She has told me how to keep pushing through doubts and given great pointers to practice.”

Networking can be intimidating, but court reporting students have found a few strategies to help. Larona Cooper, a student at MacCormac College in Chicago, Ill., suggests being proactive and introducing yourself to other court reporters. She also suggests “preparing a couple of questions in advance to ask other court reporters to assist you in your career choice” as an icebreaker.

Katelyn Van Slycke, a student at San Antonio College in San Antonio, Texas, says, “Find a working reporter and tag along with them. Have someone who will invite you to sit with them or go out on the town with them. It makes a big difference when you’re in a new city.”

Students and the NCRA Board of Directors mingle at Convention

Christine Willette, 2017-2018 NCRA President, mingles with students at a Board of Directors meet-and-greet at the NCRA Convention & Expo

A few of the scheduled events can help with networking. Shaunise Day, a student at West Valley College in Saratoga, Calif., says, “Attend the Awards Luncheon and sit at a table where you don’t know anyone. You will walk away feeling proud and inspired.” Jessica Frizzell, a student at College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind., recommends going to the president’s suite to meet the NCRA Board of Directors, which is part of the student track.

Feeling shy? Frizzell suggests wearing the student ribbon on your name badge — it will do the work for you. “I was a bit shy and nervous at first and didn’t know who to talk to or how to approach them,” she says. “If you wear that student ribbon, people will come to you!”

However a student chooses to network, the point is to use these conversations to your advantage. “You need to truly listen to what someone is telling you even if you think you’re years away from ever encountering such a thing,” says Hamilton. “Really be open-minded about the advice you receive and know that working reporters sincerely want to help you because they are so passionate about this profession.”

The Convention can also provide a boost in inspiration. “I enjoy my schooling and enjoy this profession, but the people I met and spoke with at Convention reminded me of why I’m working so hard and lit a fire in me to practice even harder so I can get out there and be a part of the working world,” says Frizzell.

Of course, the true value of networking happens after the event. “Make an effort to stay in touch with friends you make during the Convention,” says Christine Ho, a student at Mark Kislingbury’s Academy of Court Reporting. Follow up with everyone you meet once you get home, and then contact them regularly with updates, questions, or a simple hello. After all, one of your new contacts may be a future employer.

Getting the most out of sessions

The NCRA Convention & Expo includes a student track with sessions and activities that are designed to motivate students, help them find a community, and learn new strategies of getting through school.

Michael Roberts, a student at Brown College of Court Reporting in Atlanta, Ga., attended a session entitled “Finishing your program: You can do this!” given by Eileen Beltz at the 2017 Convention in Chicago. “Hearing stories from others who have had the same struggles is encouraging because you find out you’re not the only one dealing with these conflicts,” he says.

Kensie Benoit and Clay Frazier present at the NCRA Convention & Expo

Kensie Benoit and Clay Frazier present at the NCRA Convention & Expo

Day cites the session “What I Didn’t Learn in Court Reporting School” from the 2015 Convention in San Francisco, given by Kensie Benoit and Clay Frazier, RMR, CRR, as particularly motivating. “I was on the verge of deciding to give up a few months prior, and it wasn’t until I sat in on this seminar and realized that I can and will finish school despite my many challenges with working full time and going to school full time,” she says. She also learned about the many steno Facebook groups during this session.

Sessions are also a good way to meet working reporters who you admire. Cooper found the “Punctuation for the Real World” seminar moderated by Margie Wakeman Wells, CRI, at the 2017 Convention in Chicago, to be particularly helpful. “I could have listened to her all day to glean wisdom from her years of experience,” she said. “She directed the students in her seminar to read and practice our steno outlines from business magazines such as Newsweek and Time in order to increase our vocabulary, knowledge of current events, and steno writing skills.”

Linda Perez, a student at Downey Adult School in Downey, Calif., points out that one of the reasons to attend Convention is “to learn up-to-date demands in the work field.” The student track includes a couple time slots in which students can attend any session they want, and many students who have attended before recommend sitting in on a few of the sessions that are geared toward working professionals.

Carmody sat in on a session on writing more efficiently. “It was nice to have new pointers and to be able to hear different perspectives and opinions from multiple professionals, students, and schools,” she said.

Mixing and mingling in the Expo Hall

Don’t forget that the Convention includes an Expo Hall with vendors representing a variety of products and services and NCRA staff members with information about different NCRA programs and resources. In addition, several social events are held in the Expo Hall, including the Opening Reception. Day suggests using the Expo Hall as a place to mingle — with so many people around, you’re bound to make a connection.

A man in a suit shows a steno machine to a reporter at the Expo Hall

Trying a new machine at the Expo Hall

The Expo Hall also provides students the opportunity to begin planning what they’ll need once they enter the working world. “Talk to all the vendors about their products even if buying expensive equipment is still far in the future for you,” recommends Hamilton. Day advises also trying out different writers.

Alternatively, students may find resources in the Expo Hall that can help them right away. Day says, “Make a list of books that you’ve always wanted, and purchase them at the Expo. Books are normally sold at a discounted Convention rate.”

Top ten tips for students attending the NCRA Convention & Expo

  1. Find a reporter who you can pair up with if you are by yourself.
  2. Load the NCRA app before attending to get an overview of the Convention.
  3. If you are in higher speeds, sit in on some of the regular (not student) seminars.
  4. Court reporters love students! So be prepared to mingle with reporters who come up to you.
  5. Attend Convention as a group with other students to maximize your experience.
  6. It can be very overwhelming at times, so make sure you slow down and try to relax.
  7. Be on time to all student seminars, and sit in front.
  8. Make student business cards.
  9. Every single day at the convention has something new. Try to get as much knowledge as possible with everything being offered.
  10. Talk to as many people as you can.

And the number one tip for court reporting students thinking of attending the NCRA Convention & Expo? Perez sums it up: “Do it. Go. It is an investment.”

Rub shoulders with the pros

Court reporting students and the NCRA president and CEO stand in front of the Take Note campaign sign

Photo by: Nicole Napodano. Used with permission.

The NCRA Convention & Expo provides students the best opportunity to learn from the pros and experience the court reporting and captioning professions through the eyes of experienced reporters and captioners.

The 2017 Convention is no exception. Students who attend will have the opportunity to hear seasoned professions present on topics including the business of being a reporter, how to compete at the national level, and the best tips for online testing. In addition, attendees can meet and mingle with NCRA members from all arenas of the profession during a special student reception, rub shoulders with members of the Board of Directors during another reception, and get up and personal with vendors during the Opening Reception held on the Expo floor. The 2017 Convention is Aug. 10-13 in Las Vegas, Nev., at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.

“You never know where this career will take you,” said Joe Strickland, RPR, CRR, CRC, retired chief reporter at the U.S. House of Representatives who will be presenting during the student track at this year’s event.

Strickland said he attended his first NCRA convention when he was still in court reporting school. “I knew no one. I’ll never forget attending the Awards Luncheon. I wandered in and had to sit with seven strangers. I was intimidated by the ballroom full of professionals who all seemed to know each other, but my concerns were allayed by my warm, friendly tablemates,” Strickland said.

“They immediately introduced themselves and asked me where I reported. When I told them I was a student, they all chimed in with enthusiastic, encouraging words. They made me feel like I was already a part of their team,” he added.

Strickland will be participating in a reporter speed-dating session where participants will rotate from table to table and spend 10 or 15 minutes with working reporters to discuss their varied careers. “I think it’s a terrific idea, and I’m looking forward to meeting the students who join us in Las Vegas,” he said.

Nicole Bulldis, RPR, said she attended two of NCRA’s Conventions & Expos while a student, taking away both energy and passion from the working reporters she met on-site. Bulldis graduated from Green River Community College, Auburn, Wash., last June.

“In school, all you see is you and your peers struggling. It was amazing to go to Convention and see people who had been reporting for 20 to 30 years be so passionate and motivating about this field. I still remember Nancy Varallo sharing her favorite quote in Nashville: Success does not happen by spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire. That quote helped me finish school,” added Bulldis, who noted that she began her career as a paralegal before moving to court reporting. She currently works as an official court reporter for the Benton/Franklin County Superior Courts in Kennewick, Wash.

Doreen Sutton, RPR, a freelance reporter from Scottsdale, Ariz., and chair of NCRA’s Student Committee, encourages students to attend the Convention because of the opportunity it provides them to learn about current events and reporting software options, and to network with other students and professional reporters.

“I would like students to get to know working reporters, learn about the practice opportunities, and meet some wonderful reporters in each practice,” said Sutton. “I would like students to fall in love with attending Convention, like I did when I was just in my 60s speed, and resolve to try and attend convention each year. Plus, you never know when there will be special student surprises.”

Strickland agrees and encourages students to become familiar with the many options the field offers (including freelance, official, captioning, CART services, and legislative) because no one’s career path is identical to another’s.

“In my legislative career, I was honored to report State of the Union speeches by Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama. I reported the testimony of world leaders, CIA and FBI directors, movie star activists, and industry giants. I provided CART for a late-deafened judge as he testified before the House Judiciary Committee. In 2002, I reported a Special Joint Session held in New York to honor the victims of 9/11. It’s been quite a journey,” added Strickland, who retired after 22 years of service in the U.S. House of Representatives and works now as a part-time freelancer and a full-time traveler.

Learn about the speakers on the student track.

INTERSTENO: Top of the world

Register for Intersteno’s Internet Keyboarding Competition to see how your keyboarding skills compare around the world

Intersteno’s Internet Keyboarding Competition, held April 17 through May 9 via its website, allows steno machine writers and other keyboarders to test their skills and find out how they rank worldwide. Registration for Intersteno’s Internet Keyboarding Competition is open from March 19-April 16.

“The Internet Competition will whet your appetite to participate in Intersteno,” says Tori Pittman, RDR, CRI, Chair of NCRA’s Intersteno Task Force. “As a first step, you can take 10 minutes of your time and either type or steno stroke your way into international waters. Before your actual assigned time, a visit to the Intersteno practice site is important so you can be sure how it will work with your computer and keyboard/steno machine. Then it’s ready, set, go!”

Competitors will be using the Taki software, which is a free download from the Intersteno website, and can participate on a day of their own choosing between April 17 and May 9. It’s up to the individual to decide how they want to enter the contest — whether using a steno machine or a regular keyboard.

Court reporting programs can register groups of student and host a competition for a class or entire school in conjunction with the event. Court reporting students who are interested in participating should contact their instructor about registering.

“After you’ve done the Internet Competition and gotten your feedback, you will be inspired to research the Congress coming up this summer,” says Pittman. “Many opportunities for competition, education, and exploration await. All it takes is that first step and you’ll be hooked!”

To enter the Internet keyboarding contest, competitors should provide the following information: 1) full name and address; 2) year of birth; 3) technology to be used (keyboard, stenotype machine); 4) language: mother-tongue or multilingual; and 5) the date they plan to take the test to intersteno@ncra.org. The cost of the contest in U.S. dollars is:

  • $6 for participation only in the mother tongue
  • $8 for competitors writing in two or more languages

Checks must be received by NCRA no later than April 14. Participants will be registered once the check is received. Checks should be made payable to NCRA and mailed to:

NCRA
Attention: Internet Competition
12030 Sunrise Valley Dr., Suite 400
Reston, VA 20191

More information on the contest is available at intersteno.org/intersteno-internet-contests/.

Want more information about the Intersteno Internet Contest? Check out these stories:

Get a taste of international competition without leaving your office

NCRA’s Intersteno Task Force interviews the winners of the Intersteno Internet Keyboarding Contest

Registration for Internet Keyboarding Competition closes April 16

 

INTERSTENO: Get a taste of international competition without leaving your office

By Kelly Linkowski

Intersteno’s 15th edition of the International Keyboarding Championship by Internet will take place April 17 through May 9. Each year, the numbers of international participants has increased, starting with 262 competitors 15 years ago to more than 1,700 last year. The Internet contest is a great way to test your own skills and may whet your appetite to travel to Berlin for the 51st Intersteno Congress, July 22-28.

NCRA will publish more news on how to register for the Intersteno competition in an upcoming JCR WeeklyRegistration for Internet Keyboarding Competition closes April 16, so sign up soon.

Competitors can use a variety of methods for inputting straight copy during the contest. I use my steno machine (aka Jamie) with the keyboard macro in Eclipse to compete. Intersteno provides a Taki download on your computer that displays text, so I was typing what I read. Take time before the test to familiarize yourselves with the competition system at intersteno.org/intersteno-internet-contests/training-with-taki-version/. Only one shot per language is allowed, so work out any bugs beforehand! For my fellow American writers, the English text does not include double spaces after full stops; this is considered an error, and believe me, they can add up!

Reporters are commonly life-long learners; we expect the best of ourselves and we consistently improve our skills no matter how many years we’ve been at our machines. Even when competitors miss only one word in a dictation, you won’t hear “that was near perfect” but “next time, I’ll write it this way.”

As you seek to be the best writer you can be, you won’t be disappointed in the Internet competition. I look forward to competing with you in April!

Kelly Linkowski, RPR, CRR, CRC, CPE, is a broadcast captioner based in Rittman, Ohio. She can be reached at klinkowski@neo.rr.com. Linkowski is a member of NCRA’s Intersteno Task Force and a past participant in Intersteno’s Internet Contests.

Learn more about the contests.

Registration for Internet Keyboarding Competition closes April 16

Wisconsin court reporters receive proclamation

The River News reported on March 4 that NCRA member Lynn Penfield, RPR, CRR, was presented with a proclamation signed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker during Court Reporting & Captioning Week. Penfield is an official court reporter at the Oneida County Courthouse.

Read more.

SCAM ALERT: Hotel piracy alert for all NCRA Convention-goers

Please be aware that fraudulent companies are contacting NCRA Convention & Expo delegates about room reservations at Planet Hollywood Hotel and Convention Center. This is a scam. These companies are not affiliated with NCRA or Planet Hollywood. While they might offer an initial rate lower than the contract we have with the hotel, they have additional fees and hefty change and cancellation penalties – and there is no guarantee they will actually have a room for you. Please contact the NCRA office by email at meetings@ncra.org or by phone at 800-272-6272 if you receive solicitation for hotel or exhibit services. It is helpful if you have the name and phone number of the solicitor.

2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week participation exceeds previous year

080_resized2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week participation by states and court reporting schools exceeded the involvement reported during the 2016 event.

In addition to the national proclamation issued by U.S. Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin, a total of 17 states reported official proclamations compared to 11 the previous year. In addition, six court reporting programs reported holding one or more activities throughout the official week compared to five during the 2016 celebration.

“It was heartening to hear and read about all the ways our great profession was celebrated across the country,” said NCRA President Tiva Wood, RDR, CMRS, a freelance court reporter from Mechanicsburg, Pa. “This week of recognition expands each year, and I want to thank everyone who participated in this most recent celebration. I also would encourage everyone to continue to celebrate this wonderful career choice throughout the year by letting everyone know how rewarding it is,” she added.

Wood kicked off Court Reporting & Captioning Week as a guest on Stenographers World Radio where host Al Betz interviewed her about the future of the profession and the importance of the weeklong event sponsored by NCRA to raise awareness about the court reporting and captioning professions.

She also participated in a social media effort held during the 2017 NCRA Firm Owners Executive Conference, Feb. 12-14, in Tucson, Ariz. Attendees at the event were encouraged to have their photo snapped inside a specially designed frame and post it to Facebook and other social media outlets.

Wood closed out the weeklong event by participating in the first National Court Reporters Foundation Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Veterans History Project. The event used captioners to aid in interviews with several veterans who are deaf and hard of hearing, including two who served in World War II. The event was held at the Hearing Loss Association of America’s headquarters in Bethesda, Md., and drew Washington, D.C.-area media coverage.

In Ohio, students and faculty at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C), Cuyahoga, Ohio, hosted an information table in the main areas of the campus that featured a prize wheel students from all majors could spin. Prizes ranged from a pen to a pad folio and the opportunity to hear more about a rewarding career in court reporting or captioning.

Other activities sponsored by Tri-C included asking court reporting program students to provide the names of people they thought would be a good fit for the profession in exchange for being entered into a drawing. A Coffee with Court Reporters event was also held for current students featuring coffee and NCRA-decorated cookies provided by the program’s Court Reporting and Captioning Club. Among the guest speakers were NCRA member Michelle Harper, RPR, a freelance reporter from Brunswick, Ohio; a captioner; an attorney; Tri-C’s western campus president; an associate dean; and NCRA Vice President Sue Terry, RPR, CRR, a freelance reporter from Springfield, Ohio.

Brown College of Court Reporting in Atlanta, Ga., also celebrated the week by hosting a series of speakers throughout the week. Among those were Caryn Broome, a CART captioner; Maxyne Bursky, RPR, CRR, a freelance reporter; and Heidi Thomas, RDR, CRR, CRC, a CART captioner. The speakers addressed such issues as what to expect from an externship and what it takes to become a successful CART captioner.

NCRA member Candice Sanders, RPR, also led two interactive workshops that focused on transitioning from a graduate to a working reporter.

Read the complete list of events that occurred at the national, state, and local level during 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week here.

And the winners are…

Angela Patla photo

First-place winner Angela Patla

In honor of 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, NCRA’s Student Committee challenged court reporting students to transcribe as many tests as possible during the week to qualify for a prize. First place was awarded to Angela Patla, a student at South Suburban College, Oak Forest, Ill. Robyn Broyles a student at GateWay Community College, Phoenix, Ariz., earned second place, and Evie Morris, a student at the Court Reporting Institute of St. Louis, Mo., earned third place.

Under the contest’s rules, participants did not have to pass the tests, simply transcribe them. The first place winner Patla will be awarded a copy of NCRA’s RPR Study Guide, Broyles will have one leg of the RPR Skills Test covered, and Morris will receive a $25 Starbucks gift card.

Students who participated in the challenge were also required to submit a test verification form signed by both the student and a teacher.

“When I heard of the contest, I was debating on whether or not I should go for it. Winning the RPR Study Guide book was definitely something that pushed me in doing the contest,” said Patla, who won top honors by transcribing 31 tests during the competition.

“Although court reporting and transcribing came fairly easy to me since I started the program, I think participating in this contest helped a lot with my transcribing skills. It gave me a chance to feel what it was like to have a deadline on something like I would if I was on a job out reporting.”

Patla, who is almost through with 190 Testimony, is done with Jury Charge and is working on her 180 Literary. She plans to either freelance or work as an official court reporter when she graduates. She attributes her choice of court reporting as a career to her mother.

“My mom actually helped me choose court reporting my junior year of high school. I had no idea what I wanted to do. She mentioned to me a few different ladies in the area that we know who are court reporters. Right away I was interested, and I went to South Suburban’s open house. I couldn’t wait to graduate school and get started with the program,” said Patla.

Second place winner Broyles said she decided to take the challenge because she actually enjoys typing up transcripts and because the prizes were so enticing.

“I learned to recognize a few strokes that I was missing on a regular basis,” she said about participating by taking 16 tests. “I just passed my last 180 Literary test. I’m working hard to finish up Jury charge and Q&A. My resolution for 2017 is to pass all legs of the RPR and get to work,” she added.

Broyles said she is excited about all of the opportunities that will be available to her upon graduation. She currently works as a litigation secretary and bankruptcy paralegal.

“I almost went to court reporting school in 1993, but I went to paralegal school instead because I thought I would eventually go to law school,” said Broyles. “I decided to go back to school for court reporting when I met a very talented and successful closed captioner who has the kind of flexibility and earning capacity I’m looking for.”