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 currently accepting nominations for scholarship and grant

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

The $2,000 Robert H. Clark Scholarship is in its third year and is named for the late Robert H. (Bob) Clark, a court reporter from Los Angeles, Calif., who was dedicated to preserving the history of the profession. In 1993, he donated his extensive collection of books, artifacts, and documents related to court reporting to NCRF to help establish a namesake library housed at NCRA headquarters in Reston, Va. This scholarship was made possible thanks to a generous donation by Donna Hamer, Clark’s cousin, made in 2015.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nominations being accepted for the 2017 CASE Award of Excellence and Student Scholarships

student-group-tabletsThe Council on Approved Student Education has announce that it is now accepting nominations for the Award of Excellence to an Outstanding Educator, which is given in recognition of dedication to students and extraordinary contributions to reporter education. Recipients are nominated by an NCRA member.

CASE is also accepting applications for three student scholarships in the amount of $500, $1,000, and $1,500. Applicants must meet a number of requirements to be eligible, including attending a NCRA-certified court reporting program, write between 140 and 180 wpm, and submit a two-page essay on a pre-selected topic. Nominations and applications are being accepted through April 7.

Please contact a member of NCRA’s Education Team with any questions.

Enter to win a custom-made Luminex from Stenograph

Luminex

Image by Stenograph

Attendees at the 2016 NCRA Convention & Expo, being held Aug. 4-7 at the Hilton Chicago, can take a chance at winning a custom-made Luminex shorthand machine. This prize, valued at $5,300, has been designed and generously donated by Stenograph for a raffle sponsored by the National Court Reporters Foundation.

The one-of-a-kind machine will be revealed at the NCRF booth. Raffle tickets are $50 each or three for $125 and can be purchased at the booth and from NCRF representatives. The drawing will be held on Saturday, Aug. 6, at The Places You’ll Go Gala, and the winner need not be present to win. (The winner may choose from other available colors if he or she prefers.)

While visiting the NCRF booth, convention attendees will learn how they can help the Association’s philanthropic arm do more through the many programs, scholarships, and grants it offers. The NCRF booth will be located in the Expo Hall.

Other treasures that await at the NCRF booth include the 2016 Chicago Convention Commemorative Pin, which will be offered for $5 each, and an array of past convention pins available for $1 each. Visitors to the booth can also become part of NCRA history by signing the Official Convention Register, a time capsule of sorts that has documented convention attendees since the early 1900s and is housed in NCRF’s Robert H. Clark Library at NCRA headquarters between conventions.

Visitors to the NCRF booth can also be among the first of the many NCRF members who will commit to donate $1,000 or more to support the Foundation’s 2017 Angel Drive. The gift provides a great tax write-off and a myriad of benefits, including a listing on the Angels poster at the booth and an invitation to attend the exclusive Angels Luncheon next year in Las Vegas.

Finally, NCRF’s Corrinne Clark Professionalism Institute will host Business 101 for court reporters. This session will offer real-world advice from a panel of successful reporters, firm owners, and managers, who will share their hard-won insights and guidance on building a successful freelance career. This session will be led by NCRF Chair-elect Nancy Hopp, RDR, CRR, CMRS, of St. Louis, Mo.

If you are interested in taking a chance on the Luminex machine, snagging your Chicago Convention pin, or becoming an Angel Donor, be sure to stop by the NCRF booth in Chicago or contact April Weiner, NCRF Foundation Manager, at aweiner@ncra.org.

NCRF announces deadline for student scholarship and grant

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

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

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

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

This scholarship is named for the late Robert H. (Bob) Clark, a court reporter from Los Angeles, Calif., who was dedicated to preserving the history of the profession. In 1993, he donated his extensive collection of books, artifacts, and documents related to court reporting to NCRF to help establish a namesake library that is housed at NCRA headquarters in Reston, Va. This scholarship was made possible thanks to a generous donation by Donna Hamer, Clark’s cousin, made in 2015.

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

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

Students win financial assistance, motivation with NCRA and NCRF scholarships and grants

Students win financial assistance, motivation with NCRA and NCRF scholarships and grants

The value of NCRA and NCRF scholarships and grants is twofold: the financial support the awards provide as well as a confidence boost from the recognition. “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. Realizing the director of my school believed in me through her nomination allowed for that,” said Kendra Steppler, an official court reporter in Helena, Mont., who won in 2015.

“The startup costs straight out of school can be daunting. It has been so helpful to have the financial boost and the unspoken vote of support and encouragement that comes along with it,” said Rachelle Cahoon, a freelance court reporter in Boise, Idaho, who won the New Professional Reporter Grant in 2015.

Many past winners of these scholarships and grants used the funds to help pay for school costs or for court reporting software and equipment. “The timing was perfect as I was graduating in June and had to turn in the school-supplied laptop. That $1,000 enabled me to purchase a really nice touch-screen Dell laptop, plus some court reporting accessories,” said Angeli English, a freelance court reporter in D’Iberville, Miss., who won a CASE essay scholarship in 2015.

For NCRF scholarships and grants, the student will need an instructor, advisor, or supervisor to apply on their behalf; for the CASE scholarships, students may apply directly. Regardless, the student has the power to get the application moving. “When I heard about the Student Intern Scholarship, I looked at the qualifications in order to see if I was eligible. I met all the requirements, and my instructor sent in my application form,” said Elizabeth Vanghelof, a student at Key College in Miami, Fla., who won in 2015. That means that applying for these scholarships and grants takes some preparation.

Tracey L. Tracy, a student at Green River College in Auburn, Wash., who won a CASE essay scholarship in 2015, offers some advice:

  1. “Plan in advance. [For example, the CASE essay scholarship] is due by April 1 and requires a nomination by your school, so plan ahead.
  2. Find an editor or proofreader. You wouldn’t want that winning essay to be derailed by spelling or grammar mistakes.
  3. Remember to thank those who nominate you as well as those who select you as the winner!”

“Don’t talk yourself out of applying for them in the first place. It is easy to think that your chances of being awarded a grant or scholarship are slim. In reality, however, you can’t know that because you don’t know how many applicants there are! So you have nothing to lose by trying except for the short amount of time it takes to see the application process through,” said Cahoon. She also added that the process of applying for the scholarships itself is valuable. “Applying for these grants and scholarships gives you opportunities for networking, which is one of the most important skills a new court reporter can develop. You cannot apply for these grants on your own. You need supportive colleagues and former teachers and school administrators to help you through the process and to give you the necessary recommendations. And even if you don’t win a grant or scholarship, you have strengthened your professional network in the process of the application,” said Cahoon.

Five NCRA and NCRF scholarships and grants for students and new professionals are awarded to eight qualifying members. In all cases, the applicant must be an NCRA member and attend or have graduated from an NCRA-certified court reporting program. Most applications are due in the spring. Information for each scholarship and grant, including eligibility requirements, is available on NCRA.org.

“Who says ‘no’ to free money? Not me, and no student should. It does not take long to apply and it’s time well invested,” said English.

NCRA CASE Scholarships

Due April 1, 2016

One $500 scholarship, one $1,000 scholarship, and one $1,500 scholarship

Student must submit two-page essay with references on a pre-selected topic (changes each year)

For more information, contact the NCRA Education Department at schools@ncra.org (although all NCRA-certified court reporting programs receive information in January).

 

NCRF Frank Sarli Memorial Scholarship

Due spring 2016

One $2,000 scholarship

Only one nomination from each NCRA-certified program is accepted.

For more information, contact NCRF Foundation Assistant April Weiner at aweiner@ncra.org.

 

NCRF New Professional Reporter Grant

Due spring 2016

One $2,000 grant

Applicants must be in their first year out of school

For more information, contact NCRF Foundation Assistant April Weiner at aweiner@ncra.org.

 

NCRF Student Intern Scholarship

Due summer 2016

Two $1,000 scholarships

Applicant must be an intern in any of the three career paths: judicial (official and freelance), CART, and captioning

For more information, contact NCRF Foundation Assistant April Weiner at aweiner@ncra.org.

 

NCRF Robert H. Clark Scholarship

Due fall 2016

One $1,800 scholarship

There will be a total of five awards, running through 2019

For more information, contact NCRF Foundation Assistant April Weiner at aweiner@ncra.org.