NCRF accepting nominations for Frank Sarli Memorial and Student Intern scholarships

The National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) is now accepting nominations for the Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship and the Student Intern Scholarship. The deadline for both these scholarships is Dec. 1.

Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship

NCRF’s Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship of $2,000 has benefited court reporting students nearing graduation for 20 years. The award honors the late Frank Sarli, a court reporter who was committed to supporting students at the highest level of their education. Sarli, who was studying to become a professional pianist, turned to court reporting when he could no longer afford the tuition to music school. During his career, he opened Accurate Court Reporters in Orlando, Fla., Orange County’s first independent court reporting firm, and was a founding member of the Florida Shorthand Reporters Association. Sarli also served in numerous roles at the national level, including as a director for NCRA. He was the first Floridian to earn NCRA’s Distinguished Service Award.

“This scholarship helped me immensely because I was able to use some of the funds for my professional machine, which helped me enter the workforce without being in debt, the first leg of my RPR, and my airfare to attend the NCRA Convention in Chicago, which was incredibly inspiring and motivating for a new reporter/recent grad,” said Nicole Bulldis, RPR, an official court reporter in Pasco, Wash., and the 2016 recipient of the Sarli scholarship.

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 at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale,
  • demonstrating the need for financial assistance
  • possessing the qualities exemplified by a professional court reporter, including attitude, demeanor, dress, and motivation

Submit a nomination for the Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship

Student Intern Scholarship

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
  • attending an NCRA-approved court reporting program

A generous annual donation from the Reis Family Foundation helps fund these scholarships.

“Receiving [this scholarship], was a financial boon for my transition from student intern to working reporter,” said Stephen Sudano, a freelance court reporter from Bohemia, N.Y., and one of the 2016 recipients of the Student Intern Scholarship. “A career as a freelance court reporter requires a substantial investment to get off the ground. This scholarship helped pay for my professional equipment, and I appreciate it to this day.”

Submit a nomination for the Student Intern Scholarship

NCRF’s scholarships and grant are supported by donations to the NCRF Angels Drive and other fundraisers. To learn more about these scholarships, and to find the nomination forms, please visit NCRA.org/NCRF/Scholarships.

DMACC court reporting student receives scholarship

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyThe Newton Daily News posted an article on Aug. 15 announcing that Maggie DeRocher, RPR, of LeMars, Iowa, received a $1,000 scholarship from the National Court Reporting Association Council on Approved Student Education. DeRocher is a graduate of the Des Moines Area Community College Newton Campus court reporting program.

Read more.

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

The National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) has announced that 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’s Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project receives grant

hard-of-hearing-com-smThe National Court Reporters Foundation (NCRF) recently won a $10,000 Innovation Grant from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Foundation. The grant supports NCRF’s new program, the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project, which seeks to preserve the stories of America’s war veterans with hearing loss using CART captioning. The Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project is an offshoot of NCRF’s continued work with the Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP). NCRF will use grant funds to host Hard-of-Hearing Heroes VHP Days across the nation.

“NCRF is honored to be one of the recipients of this extremely competitive grant that allows us to expand our work preserving the accounts of America’s veterans,” said Mike Nelson, CEO and Executive Director of NCRA and NCRF. “Receiving this grant showcases our organization and the court reporting profession to tens of thousands of association executives across the country. In addition, it promotes our members’ services to thousands of members of veterans and hearing loss organizations at whose conventions NCRF will host Hard-of-Hearing Heroes VHP Days, including our partners the Association of Late-Deafened Adults (ALDA) and the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA).”

NCRF is one of four recipients of the ASAE Foundation’s Innovation Grants, which receives more than 100 applications each year.

“Since the ASAE Foundation started the Innovation Grant Program (IGP) five years ago, we have received a number of outstanding applications that illustrate the innovative work associations are doing to help improve the industry. The committee had a hard time selecting four winners again this year,” said Paul K. Farrell, 2016 chair of the IGP steering committee and associate director of audiology professional practices at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. “Congratulations to the winning associations!”

The inaugural Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project VHP Day event will be on Feb. 18 at HLAA’s headquarters in Bethesda, Md., in conjunction with Court Reporting & Captioning Week. NCRF will also host events at HLAA’s annual convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, in June and at ALDA’s annual convention in Orlando, Fla., in October.

“HLAA is delighted to work with the National Court Reporters Foundation on the Hard-of-Hearing Heroes Project. It is vitally important that veterans’ wartime experiences are preserved for generations to come and are accessible to people with hearing loss,” said Nancy Macklin, Director of External Affairs & Events for HLAA. “As a token of appreciation for their service, HLAA provides veterans with hearing loss a complimentary membership and convention registration. HLAA will assist NCRF in recruiting veterans with hearing loss to be interviewed for this project.”

Four veterans will be interviewed at each of three sessions on Feb. 18. The sessions are 9-10:30 a.m.; 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; and 1:30-3 p.m.

For each veteran’s interview, NCRF will need a volunteer to interview the veteran, a captioner to provide realtime for the veteran, and a reporter to transcribe the interview for the Library of Congress. Both the court reporter and captioner may earn 0.25 PDCs for each veteran interviewed.

If you would like to volunteer at the Feb. 18 event, please contact April Weiner, NCRF Manager, at aweiner@ncra.org.

VCRA marks 50th anniversary with scholarship

young woman looks up after reading paper

Photo by Regent Language Training

To mark its 50th anniversary, the Virginia Court Reporters Association (VCRA) is seeking applicants for a $1,000 scholarship to be awarded during its annual convention being held March 24-26 in Williamsburg, Va. The deadline for applying has been extended to Jan. 31. Applicants can be from any state.

The scholarship will be awarded to a student or students, who are in a current accredited court reporting program, either online or bricks and mortar, and have passed their 160 wpm testing requirement. The scholarship is being funded by the Carolyn M. O’Connor Education Fund, which celebrates the life of Carolyn Morris O’Connor.

“Carolyn loved the court reporting profession, and she was highly respected by clients and colleagues alike. This Fund was set up to honor her memory and the great contributions she made to the field of court reporting,” said VCRA President Carol Naughton, RPR.

Eligible students must also submit an essay and possibly be interviewed via telephone by a member of VCRA’s Education Fund Committee.

For more information, contact VCRA at VCRAexecutivedirector@gmail.com, or download an application here.

Volunteers raise more than $35,000 during NCRF’s annual fundraising phone-a-thon

NCRF phone-a-thon volunteers

Left to right: Laurie Shingle, Jane Fitzgerald, Bonni Shuttleworth, and Joan McQuinn

Six court reporters from across the country raised more than $35,000 during NCRF’s annual fundraising phone-a-thon between April 27 and May 6. The volunteers made thousands of calls and generated donations from $10 to $995 over the course of two weeks.

The annual phone-a-thon supports NCRF’s programs, including:

  • the Oral Histories Program, which raises public awareness about the court reporting profession by capturing and transcribing the poignant oral histories of American wartime veterans, Holocaust survivors, and attorneys who have provided pro bono services;
  • the Student Initiatives Program, which provides four scholarships to high-achieving students each year and free student memberships to NCRA for those students who transcribe two histories from the Oral Histories Program;
  • the New Professional Reporter Grant, awarded annually to a stand-out emerging court reporter in his or her first year out of school; and
  • the Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute, which educates students and new reporters about professionalism, branding, and building a successful career.
Another NCRF phone-a-thon volunteer

Kathy Cortopassi

“It is my absolute pleasure to be able to give back to NCRF knowing that this is one way for me to pay it forward and help those who are pursuing the path to court reporting,” said Michael Hensley, RPR, a freelance first-year reporter from Evanston, Ill., who contributed to this year’s phone-a-thon. “During my time as a court reporting student, it was such a blessing to receive help with costs of schooling to ease the burden of financial stress. I’m grateful that NCRF provides this opportunity, and I highly encourage every working reporter to pitch in to keep the dream alive for those wishing to join our ranks.”

Volunteers for this year’s effort included Kathy Cortopassi, RMR, CRR, CRC, Dyer, Ind.; NCRF Trustee Jane Fitzgerald, RMR, Des Moines, Iowa; NCRF Trustee Joan McQuinn, RPR, CMRS, Rockford, Ill.; former NCRF Trustee Laurie Shingle, RPR, CMRS, Pleasant View, Utah; Bonni Shuttleworth, CRI, CPE, Crestwood, Ill.; and NCRA President-elect Tiva Wood, RDR, CMRS, Mechanicsburg, Pa.

“Volunteering to help raise awareness and support for the Foundation and its many generous programs is an exciting honor,” said Wood. “Making the calls is a wonderful opportunity to talk with members, learn more about them, and ensure that they know how important their donations are and how appreciative the Foundation is of their willingness to give. I would urge anyone who wants to experience an opportunity to reach out to their fellow members and to experience the meaningfulness of volunteering to support a profession they are passionate about to consider helping with future NCRF fundraising activities.”

“NCRF launched its annual phone-a-thon in the mid-1990s and has relied on using member volunteers to make the calls rather than an outside company because of the high success rate of the peer-to-peer outreach,” said B.J. Shorak, NCRF Deputy Executive Director.

“I have participated in the phone-a-thon on several occasions,” said Fitzgerald. “I volunteer because I feel it is important to support your profession through its Association and Foundation — and I enjoy talking with reporters across the country!”

If the volunteers missed you during the phone-a-thon or you’d like to give to NCRF, please call 800-272-6272 to make your 100 percent tax-deductible donation.

NCRF announces deadline for student scholarship and grant

Nominations are now being accepted by the National Court Reporters Foundation for the Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship and the New Professional Reporter Grant. The deadline for both the scholarship and grant is March 18.

The Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship of $2,000 has benefited court reporting students nearing graduation for nearly two decades. The New Professional Reporter Grant of $2,000 benefits a qualified new working reporter who has graduated from an NCRA-certified program within the past year. Both awards are based on nominations, and recipients must meet a number of criteria.

NCRF’s Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship honors the late Frank Sarli, a court reporter who was committed to supporting students at the highest level of their education. Sarli, who was studying to become a professional pianist, turned to court reporting when he could no longer afford the tuition to music school. During his career, he opened Accurate Court Reporters in Orlando, Fla., Orange County’s first independent court reporting firm, and was a founding member of the Florida Shorthand Reporters Association. Sarli also served in numerous roles at the national level, including as a director for NCRA. He was the first Floridian to earn NCRA’s Distinguished Service Award.

“The Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship not only helped me with the cost of schooling, but it also gave me the boost of confidence I needed to succeed through school and into this amazing profession,” said Kendra Steppler, who was the 2015 recipient of the scholarship.

“Realizing the director of my school believed in me through her nomination allowed for that. She also presented me with different experiences during school that allowed me to show my ability as a future reporter. Take on any task presented to you; it will lead to opportunity and reward,” added Steppler.

Steppler graduated from Sumner College in Portland, Ore., in June 2015 and is now an official court reporter for the First Judicial District Court in Helena, Mont. In the seven months since taking the job, she has had the opportunity to experience a number of amazing – and sometimes wild – scenarios, including a first transcript order for a case that was more than 800 pages.

“I was completely surprised when I received an email informing me I was being awarded with the Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship. I had no idea I was even being nominated. It was very exciting and also extremely motivating. What a wonderful profession full of opportunity. I have the Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship to thank for helping me along the way,” she added.

Both the scholarship and the grant are supported by donations to the NCRF Angels Drive and other fundraisers. Recipients will be recognized at the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo., being held in Chicago, Ill., Aug. 4-8.

More information about all of NCRA’s and NCRF’s grants and scholarships can be found in the February issue of the JCR.

To learn more about the Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship or the New Professional Reporter Grant, visit NCRA.org/Foundation.

NCRF announces first recipient of Robert H. Clark Scholarship

The National Court Reporters Foundation has announced that Chaya Shusterman of New York Career Institute, New York, N.Y. is the recipient of its inaugural Robert H. Clark Scholarship.

Shusterman, of Brooklyn, N.Y., is nearing completion of her court reporting education. She hopes to pursue realtime and become a CART captioner.

“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 Shusterman. “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., and is supported by a generous donation from Clark’s cousin, Donna Hamer. Clark was the beloved, longest-tenured Librarian-Historian in NCRA history, serving for approximately 26 years. In 1993, he donated his extensive collection of books, artifacts, and documents related to court reporting to NCRF to help establish the Robert H. Clark Library at NCRF headquarters. He passed away in 2000.

“Robert Clark was totally dedicated to court reporting and curious about everything,” said Hamer. “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.”

Beginning this year and running through 2019, NCRF will randomly draw one recipient 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.

For more information about NCRF scholarships and grants, please visit NCRA.org/NCRF.

NCRF announces deadline for student scholarship and grant

National Court Reporters FoundationNominations are now being accepted by the National Court Reporters Foundation for the Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship and the New Professional Reporter Grant. The deadline for both the scholarship and grant is March 27.

The Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship of $2,000 has benefited court reporting students nearing graduation for nearly two decades. The New Professional Reporter Grant of $2,000 benefits a qualified new working reporter who has graduated from an NCRA-certified program within the past year. Both awards are based on nominations and recipients must meet a number of criteria.

NCRF’s Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship honors the late Frank Sarli, a court reporter who was committed to supporting students at the highest level of their learning curve. Sarli, who was studying to become a professional pianist, turned to a court reporting career when he could no longer afford the tuition to music school. During his career, he opened Accurate Court Reporters in Orlando, Fla., Orange County’s first independent court reporting firm, and was a founding member of the Florida Shorthand Reporters Association. Sarli also served in numerous roles at the national level, including as a director for NCRA. He was also the first Floridian to earn NCRA’s esteemed Distinguished Service Award.

Both the scholarship and the grant are supported by donations to the NCRF Angels Drive and other fundraising events. Recipients will be recognized at the 2015 NCRA Convention & Expo., being held in New York City, July 30 – Aug. 2.

To learn more about the Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship or the New Professional Reporter Grant, visit NCRA.org/Foundation.

NCRF supports the next generation of reporters

In 2014, NCRF awarded scholarships to three students and a grant to a new working court reporter. Two students, Kelly Greer of the Community College of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, Penn., and Rebecca Russo of Gadsden State Community College, Gadsden, Ala., received NCRF’s Student Intern Scholarships; each received $1,000. Jessica D’Agostino of Lake Worth, Fla., was awarded NCRF’s 2014 Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship, and Shannon Bevin, a court reporter from Whitestone, N.Y., is the 2014 recipient of NCRF’s New Professional Reporter Grant; they each received $2,000. Read more.