RESTON, Va., Aug. 3, 2021— The National Court Reporters Association (NCRA), the country’s leading organization representing stenographic court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers, has announced that Kimberly Coltrain, RSR, from Grayson, Ga., and a student at the College of Court Reporting in Valparaiso, Ind., is the recipient of the first 2021 Sue Shelton White Scholarship awarded by NCRA’s Council on Approved Student Education (CASE). The $1,500 scholarship is one of five CASE awards given each year. It was renamed in 2021 in honor of White’s national role in the women’s suffrage movement.
The other CASE scholarships are awarded in the amounts of $250, $500, $750, and $1,000.
Coltrain, originally from Long Island, N.Y., holds the professional certification of Registered Skilled Reporter (RSR) and is currently working toward earning the Registered Professional Reporter (RPR) certification. She expects to graduate in November and plans to work as a freelance court reporter.
Coltrain said a representative from a local court reporting school at a career fair at her high school got her hooked on the profession in 1988. She said she graduated within 18 months of starting the court reporting program and became a per diem reporter for New York Civil Court circuit for a year until a she was impacted by a freeze on non-salaried employees.
“A quarter-plus century later, I re-enrolled to learn all the things my 19-year-old self didn't know that she didn't know,” Coltrain said. “This scholarship not only assists me with completing my program, but it gives me the opportunity to use funds I've saved to join various state associations and to pay to take certification exams. I am also able to put away for items I'll need to transition to the professional arena, such as transferring from student to professional software,” she said.
“Earning this scholarship humbles me. I have survived more than my share of setbacks. There have been so many times I thought I was absolutely out of my mind to think that I could return to this field. Over the years, I've talked myself out of trying to go back: Too old, too set in my ways, definitely not tech savvy,” said Coltrain, who often refers to herself as Wilma Flintstone meeting Joan Jetson. “Once I learned exactly where in cyberspace, I was sending my homework, I knew I could make it,” she added
Coltrain also considers herself somewhat of a mentor to other students, especially because having just joined the American Association of Retired People (AARP), she thought only younger candidates would be considered for a scholarship.
“One thing I encourage anyone to do is to just apply. Get those recommendations ready, have your speed certifications from your school ready, and go for it. I've been invited to speak to several students in an NCRA A to Z® Intro to Steno Machine Shorthand program, which really surprised me as well. It was so wonderful to share some practical ideas of what this field has to offer,” she said.
Winners are chosen based on a weighted combination of speed, GPA, recommendations, and a written essay. This year’s essay question asked: If you were asked to provide advice on the following three topics to current students learning to write steno, what advice would you offer?
- Overcoming testing anxiety
- Dealing with frustration encountered while building skills
- Learning the best ways to practice
To be eligible to apply for an NCRA CASE student scholarship, students must meet the following criteria:
- Attend an NCRA-approved court reporting program
- Hold student membership in NCRA
- Have attained an exemplary academic record
- Have passed one skills test writing 140-180 words per minute at the time of submission
Candidates must also submit the following documents with their application:
- Speed verification form
- Three recommendation forms
- A copy of the student’s most recent transcript
- An essay
Notification that applications are being accepted for the CASE student scholarships is sent each February to all NCRA-approved court reporting programs. For more information on the CASE Student Scholarship, please contact the Education Department at email@example.com.