Get comfy for professional development: Exciting upcoming NCRA webinars

Front view of a person sitting barefoot on a couch with their laptop on their knees, blocking their faceCourt reporters and captioners understand the value of continuing education and always improving one’s skills, but it can be challenging to attend in-person events. With NCRA webinars, you can learn more about your profession from the comfort of your own home or office (not to mention that you can attend them in your slippers – no one will know!).

NCRA has a wide variety of topics coming up in the next month. The JCR Weekly reached out to the presenters to help whet your appetite.

On Oct. 18 at 8 p.m. ET, Tori Pittman, FAPR, RDR, CRI, will present “Intersteno: Berlin and Beyond.” Pittman is a freelance reporter from North Carolina who has a passion for Intersteno. Intersteno is “a worldwide community uniting all those using a full range of speed writing methods to quickly produce high quality texts” (including steno lovers, keyboarding champions, and verbatim writers), and they host an international Congress every two years. In this 90-minute webinar, Pittman will talk about the networking and competition opportunities at Intersteno. She describes it as “international travel that is also a business expense” and explains that Intersteno attendees “learn about reporting in other countries while exploring fantastic locations.” The 2017 Intersteno Congress was held in Berlin, Germany (NCRA members performed very well in the competitions), and the next event is in 2019 in Sardinia, Italy.

On Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. ET, Lisa Jo Hubacher, RPR, CRI, will present “Thinking about Student Training.” Hubacher is an instructor at Madison Area Technical College (which is also her alma mater) in Madison, Wis. Madison Area Technical College received one of the final Training for Realtime Writers grants in 2014 due to its curriculum redesign. In this webinar, Hubacher will discuss this curriculum model, including the redesign’s impact on the program, what’s working, and what needs tweaking. As she describes it, the webinar will cover “how to design a program based on student needs without any curriculum-design knowledge.” Hubacher says she’ll also talk about why “‘But that’s the way we’ve always done it’ doesn’t fly anymore.” This is a must-attend webinar for anyone involved in training reporting students!

On Nov. 9 at 6 p.m. ET, Santo J. Aurelio, FAPR, RDR, will present “Legal Terms, Part 1.” Aurelio has presented several language-related webinars recently, including “What Reporters Must Know about Punctuation” and “English Grammar Gremlins: Ways to Conquer Them” (now both available as e-seminars). Aurelio will present on more than a hundred and fifty terms, but he admits, “I really get a special kick out of four of them: alibi (in another place), durance vile (imprisonment), eleemosynary (charitable), and Esq.” He adds, “If I must pick one, then I guess it would be Esq., which is merely a title of courtesy, but attorneys think that it means ‘one who is an attorney.’” Aurelio will provide “economical but cogent explanations” for the words that he hopes each attendee will easily remember.

Finally, on Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. ET, Erminia Uviedo, RDR, CRR, CRC, will present “Promoting the Profession.” Uviedo is an official in San Antonio, Texas, and she serves as co-chairperson for the Texas Court Reporters Association Student Recruitment Task Force. Her efforts in recruiting and mentoring court reporting students have won her the NCSA challenge not just once, but twice in a row; in 2015, she organized participation in 13 career fairs in 15 days in San Antonio. “It is so easy and rewarding volunteering for a recruitment event,” says Uviedo. “You have the potential to reach hundreds, even if you only talk to 50.” Uviedo has also found the value in promoting the profession over social media, and she hints that “one cool thing I’ll talk about is having attendees take selfies of themselves in front of their court reporting machines and having them spread posts about court reporting.”

Members who attend the webinars will be able to ask questions directly to the presenter and get them answered right away. But if you are not able to attend the live webinar, they will be available as on-demand e-seminars after the fact. Keep an eye on NCRA’s e-seminar library for these and other topics to help grow as a professional.

NCRA members show off skills for second year at local career fair

Reston Career FairArmed with machines, flyers, and posters, NCRA members Darlene Parker, FAPR, RPR, and Steve Clark, CRC, presented for the second year in a row at a career fair held at South Lakes High School in Reston, Va., on March 23. Parker, a broadcast captioner, is the director of steno captioning and realtime relations for the National Captioning Institute in Chantilly, Va., and Clark, a CART captioner, is the manager of Home Team Captions in Washington, D.C.

Approximately 600 sophomores at the school wandered through the career fair held in the cafeteria, visiting tables that included representatives from an array of professions, including law enforcement, health, education, and veterinary care. Students who stopped by the court reporting and captioning table often were three deep, captivated by Clark’s realtime demonstration.

“I was happy to have Steve Clark join me again this year to provide realtime for the event at South Lakes High School. The kids were fascinated watching his realtime,” said Parker. “There was one kid who tested Steve by mentioning every fruit he could think of. We were waiting for the standard test of supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, but it never came.”

The duo first participated in the school’s career day in 2016. Parker, whose son was a junior at the time there, read about the event and contacted the faculty who were organizing it. Both Parker and Clark said participating in the event again this year was just as rewarding as the last time.

“The Career Day at South Lakes High School was an excellent opportunity to showcase court reporting, broadcast captioning, and CART captioning. The fast-paced event kept students moving from table to table, almost like career speed dating,” said Clark.

“This year we had a steady flow of students who listened to Darlene Parker’s explanation of what a court reporter and captioner does while I wrote what she said. Students were amazed to see their words appearing on tablets within a second of being spoken,” he added.

Students were also excited to learn that Clark is the official stadium captioner for the Washington Redskins football team, the Nationals baseball team, the Capitals hockey team, and teams from several area colleges.

Annemarie Roketenetz, NCRA’s Assistant Director of Communications, also attended the event. Roketenetz would “snag” the kids, especially those wearing sports-related clothing, and ask them if they liked sports.

“Then I would explain how terrific of a profession court reporting and captioning is and how the machine worked. I enumerated that it can be done with just an associate’s degree, the many different types of venues one can work in, the flexibility, and the potential for an excellent income,” Parker explained.

Parker reached out to NCRA again this year for materials. She also consulted the Association’s website for helpful handouts, including fun facts. She said it’s important to point out to students how the machine works and the many different venues court reporters and captioners can work in. She also suggests highlighting the need for people to enter the field, as some professionals are reaching retirement age. She also shares with students what CART captioners do, mentioning that most positions offer a flexible schedule and the ability to work from home. She tells students that it is a great profession for those who like words and technology, and that it’s two to three years of schooling for an excellent salary and a rewarding career.

Parker is currently making plans to highlight the profession next month at the middle school located next to South Lakes High School where she and other volunteers will present for 35 minutes to two separate classes.

“I urge everyone to reach out to your local high schools and school districts. It is fun to participate in these events to promote our great profession to these young people, who are our future,” she said.

“These career day events are incredibly important and rewarding. Every NCRA member should get out into the community and share his or her talents in order to draw more students into this field,” added Clark.

NCRA members who are interested in presenting at career fairs have a variety of resources available from the Association. The Resource Center at DiscoverSteno.com has fliers, posters, a PowerPoint presentation, and a promotional video (both generic and customizable for a specific program, etc.).

Members may also find value in the resources at NCRA.org/Awareness.These materials are focused on Court Reporting & Captioning Week, but members can adapt them for other promotional purposes or to use them to find ideas for highlighting court reporting and captioning.

Members who do participate in career fairs or any other promotional activities are encouraged to contact Roketenetz at aroketenetz@ncra.org for possible inclusion in the JCR or JCR Weekly. Keep in mind that any photos will likely need to hide any identifying features of minors, especially faces.

PROMOTING THE PROFESSION: Leading by example

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Stanley Sakai and Isaiah Roberts at Oswego East High School

Isaiah Roberts, an official reporter working for the judicial circuit court in Illinois, was asked by his cousin, a director at Oswego East High School in the Chicago suburbs, to come and talk about his job. He invited his friend, Stanley Sakai, CRC, a captioner based in New York City, who was going to be in town, to join him for the presentation. The duo shared their similar skills and different paths with the high school students during their visit, and they garnered a lot of attention from the students, with several staying afterwards to ask questions of the two young men. The JCR asked them to tell us more about their experience.

JCR | How did the presentation go?

IR | When we got there, Stanley and I both set up our Lightspeed writers and laptops so the students could get a closer look at our machines. As I would talk with the students and answer their questions, Stanley would write everything that was being said, thereby showing the students firsthand exactly how realtime writing worked. This was one of the biggest highlights in our presentations, as the students were amazed to see every word they were speaking show up wirelessly on an iPad.

SS | Since Isaiah is a courthouse official and I am a captioner, I thought that, together, we would make a great team in that the students would have exemplars of two contrasting stenographic professionals.

JCR | What was the message you delivered to the students?

IR | We were able to explain the differences between someone who is a court reporter, such as myself, and someone is a CART captioner like Stanley. We were fortunate in this regard to be able to show some of the vastly different career options that were possible by being a stenographer. While some students liked the idea of being in a courtroom every day, some were intrigued by the fact that they could be paid to caption a sports game or that they didn’t have to have an 8-5 schedule.

SS |We made it clear to the students that an investment in a stenographic career is one of great prospects and flexibility. Whether it is the predictable stability of a 9-5 or the fast-paced hustle of the freelance life you desire, you can make this career path fit your needs and schedule.

JCR |Why was it important for you to make this visit?

SS | It is important for us to reach out and spread the word about this career because of the public’s general lack of awareness around the court reporting and captioning fields. As a captioner who works in many different capacities, I can attest that most people have no idea what I mean when I say I produce live captioning for tech conferences or provide CART for students. I frequently get confused looks by onlookers when I explain to them that practically none of what I am doing is automated when I inevitably get my favorite on-the-job question: “What speech/voice recognition software are you using? It’s so good!”

There is widespread misunderstanding regarding the value, long-term viability, and the earning potential of stenographic professions, so it’s imperative that we, especially as younger representatives in an aging field, do all that we can to educate and inspire those who will be soon choosing their career paths.

JCR |What were some of the questions/comments students had for you?

SS |The questions we got ran the gamut from typical salary ranges, to hours worked per week, to working conditions. We were surprised at how genuinely curious the students were at such a young age!

IR | A lot of the questions we received were questions such as, “How much schooling does it take?” or “How are you possibly able to write that fast?” Stanley and I both shared our own personal experiences, expressing that while the learning process is difficult, the career is well worth it.

I brought with me some promotional items and pamphlets from the current court reporting programs offered in Illinois. While many of the students seemed interested, there were multiple students who talked to us afterwards expressing that they think it might be a great career option for them.

JCR |What do you think the students gained from you visit?

SS | I think the greatest benefit the students gained from our visit other than hearing from two different professionals was witnessing the live demo. As Isaiah spoke, I transcribed him in realtime, sending the text to an iPad. We also let the students try out our machines. The “wow factor” of watching Isaiah’s words appear on the screen and the tactile aspect of touching our equipment really helped spark their interest and demonstrate our work in a concrete way.

Challenges, contests, prizes, and fun under way for Court Reporting & Captioning Week

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Medal for TCRA’s virtual run celebrating the 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week

As NCRA members, court reporting students, schools, and others get ready for the start of the 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week being celebrated Feb. 11-18, a number of challenges and contests offering some hefty prizes have been issued across the nation.

NCRA’s Student Committee has challenged court reporting students to transcribe as many tests as possible during the week to qualify for a prize. Under the contest’s rules, participants do not have to pass the tests, simply transcribe them. The first-place winner will be awarded a copy of NCRA’s RPR Study Guide. The second-place winner will receive a choice of a one-year student membership to the Association or one leg of the RPR Skills Test. The third-place winner will earn a $25 Starbucks gift card. Winners will be announced in the Feb. 22 issue of the JCR Weekly.

Students taking the challenge will be required to submit a test verification form, signed by both the student and a teacher.

The Texas Court Reporters Association (TCRA) is sponsoring Off the Record and On the Run, a virtual run being held Feb. 1-28, in celebration of Court Reporting & Captioning Week. Anyone can participate, according to Beth Faulk, TCRA’s executive director. The event is expected to generate not only awareness and support of the court reporting profession but to also offer a healthy social outlet for court reporters who want to get together and have fun with their friends, Faulk explained.

The cost to register is $25. Participants who run 5k, 10k, or a half marathon will receive a four-inch retro style writing machine medal adorned with a ribbon that reads “AUF T RORD.” All proceeds will benefit TCRA to help it continue to provide quality education, advocacy, and services to its members.

“Those who signed up first have already started receiving their medals and love them! Various reporters and groups are organizing to conduct their runs and walks all together at different parks and locations during National Court Reporting & Captioning Week,” Faulk said She noted that since it is a virtual run, participants can even compete on a treadmill.

Although participants are encouraged to submit their finish time, they are not required to do so to receive their medal. Additional information and registration for the event is can be found at Virtualstrides.com.

The friendly challenged issued by NCRA’s National Committee of State Associations (NCSA) is also heating up. The challenge calls on all state associations to join forces with their members to participate in career fairs, provide realtime demonstrations at high schools and guidance counselor meetings, or host a Veterans History Project events to celebrate Court Reporting & Captioning Week.

Members of the Pennsylvania Court Reporters Association (PCRA) will be conducting three Veterans History Project interviews at local restaurants, including at one site in New Jersey. Julie Wilson, a PCRA district director said the association has both freelance and official court reporters from Chester, Bucks, Lancaster, and Philadelphia counties volunteering to interview and transcribe the stories of the veteran participants.

The winner of the 2016 NCSA challenge, Erminia Uviedo, RDR, CRR, a freelance court reporter from San Antonio, Texas, said members in her city have already participated in 18 school demonstrations and have an additional eight more planned for later in the spring. Uviedo plans to exceed last year’s number of 26 school demonstrations to once again earn NCSA’s top honors.

The competition for the NCSA challenge closes Feb. 18. Anyone participating in a qualifying event can receive credit for it by documenting their efforts at the NCSA contest site. All entries will automatically be entered into the contest. There is no limit to the number of contest entries states can have. Click on the NSCA challenge registration site to register your event.

The ways to celebrate 2017 Court Reporting & Captioning Week are unlimited. To learn more how you can celebrate the week or to find the latest in resources, including press release templates, media pitches, presentations, and more, visit the Resource Center on NCRA.org or contact the NCRA communications team at pr@ncra.org. And don’t forget to share with NCRA how you celebrate.

Stenography on display

By Paulette Cox

“Have you seen a man skillful at his work? He will stand before kings. He will not stand before common man.” – Proverbs 22:29

I often feel this way on my assignments, and that’s the idea I tried to convey to students at the Annual Career and College Fair in Winslow Township, N.J., on May 27.

Students stop by to see more about court reporting at a table at the Annual Career and College Fair in New Jersey.

Students stop by to see more about court reporting at a table at the Annual Career and College Fair in New Jersey.

The very enthusiastic students and even teachers were excited to see their spoken words on the computer screen. One third-grade teacher said, “I have to take a picture of that.”

This year I was joined by Cherilyn McCollum, RPR, the president of the Certified Court Reporters Association of New Jersey (CCRA-NJ), who graciously wrote the students’ names on steno paper so that they could keep it as a souvenir.

Mark Kislingbury, RDR, CRR, who holds the Guinness World Record as the fastest writer and is no stranger to this part of south Jersey, sent a videotaped message on the basics of writing on a steno machine. He also gave a glimpse of the various types of machines that are used today.

Veritext and CCRA-NJ provided goodies for the students, and I sent out a very special thanks to them for their support.

More than 300 students participated in the event, which featured other professionals such as engineers, pilots, teachers, medical professionals, social workers, police officers, journalists, and photographers, among a host of others.

Paulette Cox is a freelance reporter from Sicklerville, N.J. She can be reached at plttknigh39@gmail.com.

NCRA members find value in promoting at career fairs

DSC_0094_squareMore and more court reporters and captioners have realized the value in attending career fairs as a way to promote the profession. Most recently, Darlene Parker, RPR, a broadcast captioner, and Steve Clark, CRC, a CART captioner, presented at South Lakes High School in Reston, Va., on March 17. Because the high school is so close to NCRA headquarters, a staff member was able to join them.

“Presenting at this year’s career fair at South Lakes High School was a great opportunity to showcase our skills and professionalism of court reporters, broadcast captioners, and CART captioners,” said Clark. “Working as a team, we presented all sides of the professional – the management and training, as exemplified by Darlene Parker of NCI; the support, certification, and advocacy by our professional organization, thanks to Megan Rogers, NCRA’s Communications Assurance Specialist; and the skills and technical side of captioning as displayed by my live demonstration.”

Parker, whose son is a junior at the high school, noticed a call for volunteers for the fair, which was held for sophomores. “When I contacted the school,” she said, “they were thrilled to hear from me. The woman said she had been trying for years to get someone to represent the court reporting profession.” She asked Clark to help her with the presentation, especially with giving a practical demonstration. They set up a table with a couple laptops — one of which played the award-winning promotional video produced for the Take Note campaign on a loop and the other connected to Clark’s realtime feed — as well as a couple tablets wirelessly connected to the realtime feed. The table also offered fliers and posters with more information.

DSC_0101“The kids were fascinated by the realtime we displayed,” Parker noted. “One girl’s jaw dropped, and she did not close her mouth until the demo concluded.” Parker noted it was helpful to have someone to talk about the profession (possibly in front of the table to draw kids in) and someone to write live. She said it’s important for the steno machine to be visible. “Ask the kids what their names are and write them,” she said. “They love that.”

Parker had reached out to NCRA for materials, noting, “Consult NCRA’s website for helpful handouts, including fun facts.” And there’s no end to the amount of information to share with the students.

“Explain how the machine works and highlight that 5,500 jobs need to be filled in the next few years. Highlight all the different venues a court reporter/captioner can work in — as an official, a freelancer taking depositions, reporting the United States House of Representatives or United States Senate floor and committee proceedings, as a remote or onsite CART captioner for an individual in the classroom or workplace and/or at conventions, as a remote broadcast captioner, as a remote or in-stadium or in-arena captioner, and finally as a captioner in theaters. Mention that most positions offer a flexible schedule and the ability to work from home. Mention that it is a great profession for those who like words and technology,” said Parker. “And last, but not least, mention the return on investment — two to three years of schooling for an excellent salary and a rewarding career.”

Ruth Levy, RPR, a freelancer in Richmond, Va., who has recently reached out to NCRA for materials, commented on how important it is to promote the profession at these venues specifically.

“When I was a sophomore in high school, a court reporter came to my typing class and spoke about being a court reporter,” said Levy. “She asked if we liked to type. She asked if we were good at playing any instruments. She asked if we liked LA Law. I raised my hand for every question. A light bulb went off, and I knew right then and there I would love to be a court reporter.” Levy has been in contact with “a local high school that does more legal assistant and technical courses,” but she’s no stranger to promoting the profession. “While I was [attending the Academy of Court Reporting] and finishing up, I would travel with the career placement adviser and speak to high school students about being a court reporter. She would talk, and I would demonstrate,” said Levy. “It was a great feeling to pay forward what I learned in my 10th grade typing class.”

Erminia Uviedo, RMR, CRR, a freelancer in San Antonio, Texas, who has participated in more than a dozen career fairs since November, echoed Levy’s sentiments: “Just like we at one time had someone enter our classroom, sit down at a little-known type of machine, spooling out little white paper covered in lettered ink, that piqued our interest then, we must remember that feeling of when our dream began, what sparked our interests, what made us go out and seek a court reporting school. We need to remember how all it took was that one person to demonstrate machine shorthand to realize that’s exactly what we wanted to do as a career and how it has lead us to the point that we are now.”

Uviedo — along with Tonya Thompson, RPR, an official in San Antonio, and Leticia Salas, RPR, an official in Houston, who have also been active in promoting court reporting in Texas — had several tips to share.

“When attending career fairs, we have learned that the next generation is technologically savvy and quite ambitious. Many are articulate and looking for a profession that provides perpetual education and holds their attention,” said Thompson. “They are captivated with our cool keyboards and are intrigued with the ability we have to write at the speed of sound. They quickly sit behind our writers and get so excited when we show them how to write their names. They squeal with joy as their names scroll across the computer screen as their friends watch.” Thompson noted that “the excitement of a career fair is almost as exciting as attending a national convention” and that she finds that it “rejuvenates our excitement in the profession.”

Salas added, “I think it’s extremely valuable in promoting court reporting because it’s a very rewarding career. To be able to always have front row seats in people’s lives is a privilege.” She’s also noticed that career fairs are a good place to help people see the connection between court reporting and captioning: “I’ve realized that not many people have the knowledge of knowing what closed-captioning and CART are really all about and that these two avenues are roads of the court reporting profession.”

“I have learned that nine times out of 10, your audience — teachers, counselors, parents, or high school students — will be always be amazed with a realtime demonstration. Out of all the careers or schools spotlighted at career fairs, court reporting is always one of the most popular. The machine does most of the attracting on its own,” said Uviedo.

Based on her experience, she has several practical tips for others who are interested in putting on a career fair: “Have a nice Trifold display board and plenty of handouts. Make sure there are websites, Facebook pages, or Twitter profiles for them to easily be able to search for online. The ideal amount for a successful fair is four court reporters: two to reel the audience in, and two to demonstrate realtime on their machines.” Parker and Clark chose to keep the steno machine in sight but behind the table to protect it, but Uviedo recommends having the machine front and center. “Always let the audience sit at the machine and be very hands-on. Always let the students take selfies of themselves on the machine. They will do the advertising for us, easily reaching hundreds of others who will hopefully be interested in what kind of machine did they just see a picture of, engaging them to comment on what it is, where to find out about court reporting, etc.” Uviedo has also combined forces with San Antonio College’s court reporting program. “Always have sign-in sheets. And when there is an open house coming up, mass text everyone on the sign-in sheets to invite them to the open house,” she said, so students can easily take the next step.

NCRA members who are interested in presenting at career fairs have a variety of resources available from the Association. The Resource Center at crTakeNote.com has fliers, posters, a PowerPoint presentation, and a promotional video (both generic and customizable for a specific program, etc.). Members may also find value in the resources at NCRA.org/Awareness. These materials are focused on Court Reporting & Captioning Week, but members can adapt them for other promotional purposes or to find ideas for how to showcase court reporting and captioning. Members who do participate in career fairs or any other promotional activities are encouraged to contact Annemarie Roketenetz, NCRA Communications Manager, at aroketenetz@ncra.org for possible inclusion in the JCR. Keep in mind that any photos will likely need to hide any identifying features of minors, especially faces.

NCRA member organizes participation in 13 career fairs in 15 days

A court reporter explains the court reporting keyboard to a school counselor

Leticia Escamilla explains the court reporting keyboard to a counselor at Southwest High School in San Antonio, Texas

When NCRA member Erminia Uviedo, RMR, CRR, a court reporter from San Antonio, Texas, was asked to serve on a newly created student recruitment task force by the Texas Court Reporters Association, she knew immediately what she wanted to do: showcase the profession at local high school career fairs.

“In the past two years, I have raised eight out of my 10 children, so I have more time to dedicate to the profession, which I love,” said Uviedo. “My passion lies in reaching out to court reporting students as far as mentoring, tutoring, and recruiting students to the profession.”

“With the court reporting shortage and court reporting schools closing,” she continued, “I made it a personal goal to reach out to all the high schools in the San Antonio area and try to recruit at least 30-50 new court reporting students.”

To launch her quest, Uviedo used a map of the independent school districts in San Antonio, developed a list of the high schools in each, and started contacting the schools’ counselors to explain how she would like promote the court reporting and captioning professions at upcoming career fairs.

“Luckily it was College Week in Texas. I contacted 27 high schools and was able to organize 13 career fairs over the course of 15 days,” Uviedo said, noting that she was also able to schedule participation in an additional four events slated for the spring of 2016.

A court reporting student and a court reporter writing on their steno machines at a career fair

Jessica Butts, a court reporting student, and Angie Jimenez write on their steno machines

Next, Uviedo pulled together an army of volunteers not just from the ranks of the TCRA membership, but also from the faculty of the court reporting program offered through San Antonio College. She created sign-in sheets that were used at each event to collect contact information from students who expressed an interest in the profession. The contact information was then forwarded to SAC’s court reporting program where the faculty plans to follow up with invitations to an upcoming open house.

Uviedo also personally created a SAC court reporting program Facebook page and Twitter page that contained information potential recruits could access, so students who visited the court reporting booths at various events could stay abreast of any court reporting recruiting messages she posted.

“It is important to plant the seed for this profession early in a student’s life,” said Pat Woodward, CRI, SAC’s court reporting program director, who volunteered for several of the career fairs. “Many of the students who came by were in middle school, and the amazement was wonderful to see on their faces. They had no idea we existed.”

According to Uviedo, between 20 and 25 students on average visited the court reporting booths at each of the career fairs and asked a variety of questions about the profession ranging from how fast the volunteers could type, to tuition costs, to salary potentials and employment outlooks.

A court reporter shows off her steno machine at a career fair

Olga Gutierrez shows off her steno machine at Marshall High School in San Antonio, Texas

Uviedo said that many of the students who stopped by the booths also had no idea what court reporting was about and were often absolutely amazed when they watched realtime demonstrations. Career counselors who attended the events were equally intrigued about the profession and wanted to know more about the program offered at SAC, as well as the demand for court reporters in the future, she noted.

Uviedo said one of the greatest benefits of participating in the career fairs was being able to share court reporting as a rewarding career choice to students who were mostly unaware of the profession.

“I walked away feeling accomplished with certain students who seemed genuinely interested in court reporting as a career choice,” said Maria Fattahi, RPR, CRR, an official court reporter who served as one of Uviedo’s volunteers.

For others interested in promoting the court reporting and captioning professions at career fairs in their areas, Uviedo advises reaching out to students through social media to help keep them connected with the notion of court reporting as a viable career option.

“I asked students to Tweet a picture of our board or them at our court reporting machine using the hashtags #courtreporting, #crTakeNote, or #SACCourtReporting. Being that most students have hundreds (if not thousands) of friends in their social network, the informational court reporting posts can potentially reach the thousands,” Uviedo said. “When I checked Twitter, I could see that many of their friends voluntarily retweeted their posts simply because they thought it was cool.”

Tonya Thompson, RPR, an official court reporter who also volunteered for the career fair effort, advises letting the machine pique the curiosity of prospective future reporters. “It’s all about the machine and the mystery behind how it is possible to write so rapidly. Let them play with the keyboard and see what words they create in realtime,” she said.

“First thing, ask them their name and introduce yourself. Then teach them to write their name on the machine and even bring along an older machine so they can walk away with steno paper that has their name written in steno. Priceless!” she added.

Rick Hopkins, a senior faculty member at SAC, added that having an ink stamp on hand to stamp contact information on the steno that paper students and counselors take with them is also helpful. In addition, he added, don’t be afraid to pull people into the booth to talk to them.

“Leaving the career fairs, I walked away feeling a sense of accomplishment that we have planted the seed of court reporting and have reached so many students,” said Uviedo of the experience.

“By the way,” Uviedo added. “I guess I have a little bit of OCD because after I scheduled these career fairs, I contacted my colleagues in Laredo and Hidalgo asking them if I could help them spread the word about court reporting in their counties. I’ve set a new goal — to reach all of South Texas.”

Promoting steno

By Paulette Cox

The cafegymatorium at School 4 in Winslow Township, N.J., came alive on May 21 — no, not for gym or lunch, but for its third annual Career and College Fair.

According to the organizers, Vice Principal Kevin Collison and Guidance Counselor Laura Duca, the purpose of this day was to expose students to the many career options available to them.

Thirty different professionals, including myself, a court reporter, were present. The students were amazed at seeing the words they spoke appear instantaneously on the computer screen. Then after a pause, the word that came out was “cool” and then the questions came rolling, “How did you do that?  How do you know what keys to strike?”

Since keyboarding is being taught at the elementary level now, most of them understood the term home keys, so I showed them what that looks like all in one stroke, did their ABCs, and one two three for the younger ones.

Best of all, Mark Kislingbury, RDR, CRR, who holds the Guinness World Record as the fastest writer, sent them a videotaped message on what he had to do to become the world record holder. Veritext also provided goodies for the students. A very special thanks to them for their support.

More than 500 students received the opportunity to learn a little about our profession, so hopefully some will decide on this as a career in the future.

Other professions also wandered over to see and talk.

 

Paulette Cox, a court reporter from Sicklerville, N.J., can be reached at plttknigh39@gmail.com.