Essay Winners

Dana Webb 3  
   President's Message
   By Dana Webb, TCRA President

I want to thank one and all for your vote of confidence, and at the same time let you know that I am honored to serve again as your President for this upcoming year. 

When I reflect over the last year serving in this role, I can’t help but be proud of our accomplishments as an organization.  We have faced many battles and persevered through some rough waters, all thanks to our membership and your Board.  Through it all we have emerged as an organization stronger than ever. 

With that being said, please be aware and know that we are continuing to face the uphill battle with the Administrative Office of The Courts (AOC) and the use of electronic recording in Tennessee.  There is no doubt that ER is in full force and effect and will certainly impact our profession.  As of today’s date, there has been an ER class in Nashville, with Memphis the next stop.   TCRA will be working closely with NCRA in learning how other states have dealt with this same issue.  We aren’t sure of the direction the association should or will take at this point, but it is in the forefront of our efforts and time.  TCRA definitely needs to be part of the solution.

I want to give a big shout out to our Convention Committee this past year.  For those of you who were able to attend the annual convention, I’m sure that you can attest to what a wonderful event it was.  In addition to the great seminars and wonderful networking opportunities, there was a lot of fun had by all.  The comraderies among the attendees was very positive and uplifting.  Your new Convention Committee is already hard at work on planning our next convention, with this year being even more successful and well attended. 

If you are able and you are looking for a way to serve and give back for the good of your profession, then we have something for you.  TCRA will be a vendor at the upcoming Tennessee School Counselor Convention from September 23rd through the 25th at the Hilton Garden Inn in Murfreesboro.  There will be guidance counselors from across the state attending.  This will be a good time to share our profession so that they can recommend it to their students.  If you are interested in working the booth during the convention, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

I’m also very pleased to report that Tennessee is well represented at the national level this year.  We have three TCRA members currently serving on the board of NCRA.  Keith Lemons and Karyn Menck are serving as directors, and Max Curry is serving his role as President-Elect.  Way to represent our state, and TCRA is very proud of their dedication to our profession. 

As a major highlight, one of our TCRA members and Convention Committee member, Patricia Nilsen of Alpha Reporting, placed second in the NCRA speed contest.  Congrats, Patricia!!  This is just another plaque to add to your already many accomplishments as a talented court reporter. 

In closing, a wise person once said, “Our future depends on what we do today.”  I want to encourage you all to get out there and make a difference.  If we all contributed in some small way, the future of our profession will continue to make its mark.  Our future depends on it.

Dana Webb, President TCRA 2018-2019

2018 Student Scholarship Essay Winner

Cristine Kuo, Essay Winner

Each year TCRA sponsors a scholarship for court reporting students.  Students may participate in the program by writing a short essay.  The student scholarships are awarded to deserving students each year at our Annual Convention.  This year we had some great essays submitted from several students.  It is so inspiring to read their essays and to hear the passion and enthusiasm in their words.

Cristine Kuo is our 2018 recipient of the Tiffany Brosemer Student Scholarship Essay Contest. Congratulations, Cristine!

Read Cristine's essay below.

2018 Scholarship Winner

"Why I Want to Be a Court Reporter"
Tiffany Brosemer Student Scholarship Fund Essay
Submitted by: Cristine Kuo

               If you ask a child, whether they are in middle or high school, what they want to be when they grow up, the usual response is, “I want to be a teacher! I want to be a lawyer! I want to be a doctor!” Well, if you asked me that question my response is, “I have no stinkin’ idea what I want to be. Both of my parents are restaurant owners, so I suppose that’s what I’m going to become, a restaurant owner.”

               Luckily for me, my high school invited every 10th grader to attend a career fair. I kept my mind open for options hoping something will catch my eye and that’s when I saw, a woman sitting so straight and poised, with a business attire on. She seems so happy and focused. I walked up to her and watched her “type” away on some sort of keyboard. Someone shouted, “How are you typing all of those words so quickly? What is that machine called?”

               The woman was very kind and answered all our questions and told us that she was a court reporter and her machine was called a steno machine. She was not typing but writing on her machine. I was so intrigued. I think I found my calling.

               I graduated high school and went on to receive my degree in English, but in the back of my mind I still had a lingering thought of wanting to become a court reporter. I contacted Brown College of Court Reporting located in Atlanta, GA. Two and half years into school, here I am now, still wanting to become a court reporter. It’s taking some time, but I know I will get there eventually.            


"Why I Want to Become a Captioner"

Essay By:  Jeffrey Little

2009 Scholarship Winner

There was a day when my mom, who is hearing impaired and has to watch television with the closed captioning on, came to me with an article about closed captioning as a career. She mentioned something about learning court reporting, and using those skills to move into captioning.  I initially dismissed the idea, but as I continued to research careers, I decided to humor her and check it out.  To my surprise, the career sounded too good to be true, and everything I was looking for.

Another reason I became so interested in the field is that I was in a car accident two years ago, and severed my brachial artery.  This injury rendered me unable to move my thuimb.  This was very frustrating, but after six months of no motion in my thumb, it began to move.  A few weeks after that, I had full use of it again.  Having played guitar for many years, I greatly enjoy using my fingers.  The idea thatI could find a good, stable career using my fingers appealed to me greatly.

I researched court reporting and closed captioning, which ultimately led me to enroll in the College of Court Reporting in Hobart, Indiana. My experience there has been nothing short of phenomenal, and I can feel that this is the career path that I'm meant to take.

2014 Student Scholarship Essay Winner

Deborah King, Essay Winner

Each year TCRA sponsors a scholarship for court reporting students.  Students may participate in the program by writing a short essay.  The student scholarships are awarded to deserving students each year at our Annual Convention.  This year we had some great essays submitted from several students.  It is so inspiring to read their essays and to hear the passion and enthusiasm in their words.  

Deborah King is our 2014 recipient of the Tiffany Brosemer Student Scholarship Essay Contest.  Congratulations, Deborah!

Read Deborah's essay below.  

"Why I Want to Be a Court Reporter"

Why in the world do I want to be a court reporter?!  Trust me, this is a question that I have asked myself many, many times in the years since I began school.  There have been times over the last four years when I have been so close to quitting, just throwing in the towel, because I have not progressed with my speed as quickly as I had hoped.  Like countless other court reporting students, I have had times of frustration, exasperation, and oh so many tears.  

It is during these times that I sit down and have a heart-to-heart with myself about why I would want to continue on a path that is so very difficult, so skill-oriented, that very few actually see the end.  Ultimately, it comes down to passion.  I have developed a passion for steno over the past four years.  Albeit a love/hate relationship, it is a strong relationship nonetheless.  I know this because, at those times where I become frustrated and force myself to take a break from the machine, I absolutely cannot stop thinking about it.  When I am reading or watching TV, I find myself constantly thinking about how I would write that word in steno or telling myself to make a mental note of a difficult word for future reference.

When I am on my machine practicing or testing, I feel at home.  My skill is not nearly at the level I would like it to be, but the process of developing that skill and seeing the progress is addictive to me.  The feeling of having passed a test is like no other.  My family and friends are happy for me, but they cannot truly understand my elation of passing one test when I have failed hundreds before.

This passion for steno is what keeps me going down this path - that and the knowledge that, once I attain my speed and pass my certification, I will be part of an elite group of court reporters, captioners, and CART providers who have all traveled down that same path and made it.  Over the last four years, I have realized that ultimately it does not matter how long it takes you to get down the path, as long as you do not get off.  The reward at the end will be worth the work it took to get there.

2013 Student Scholarship Essay Winner

Melina Lyons, Essay Winner

"Why I Want to Be a Captioner"

I'm very interested in the world of captioning. I've always wanted to learn sign language since I was a young adult. I bought sign language learning tapes and a sign language reference book. I started to practice with one of my sisters. I also would stand in front of a mirror to see myself trying to sign. Sometimes I would imagine not being able to talk or hear, then using my hands to communicate. Sadly things were too complicated with home-life so I had to put sign language aside. A few years passed and I would look at my sign language book wishing I had pursued this way of communicating. I remember working as a medical transcriptionist and a younger sister told me about court reporting. She said she was going to school to learn to become a court reporter. She passed her classes and accepted a job as court reporter. She would take me to lunch and talk about her job. I listened and tried to imagine what her job was like. She would describe how being in court was like or working a deposition. At that time, it didn't seem like something I wanted to do. She told me I should look into being a court reporter because there are different options. Well, I ended up being laid off from my hospital job and decided to enroll in Theory I at Southwest. Then shortly, I became pregnant with my son and had to discontinue school when he was born. I figured I'd put things on hold and devote time raising my son. My sister again reminded me of court reporting and pushed me to get back into this field of study. I couldn't afford tuition so I tried teaching myself.  I signed up to take the certification test only to fail it twice each year. I was ready to give up. My co-workers and sister pushed me to keep trying. So I decided to research this career more and found out that I could be a court reporter working with closed captioning. I thought to myself "finally, a chance to be exposed to that world of language." I knew this would be my chance to pursue what I had started years ago. Well, I enrolled at Southwest at the beginning of 2013 waiting to see how this challenge will end.