Queens students take home top spots in court reporting contest at Plaza College

Photo: Wikipedia Commons/PCBUSMED

Two Queens court reporting students at Plaza College were among the fastest transcribers during a recent speed competition.

As a part of their Court Reporting & Captioning week, Plaza College hosted the 2019 National Court Reporters Association (NCRA) Student Speed Contest on Feb. 13. During the competition, over 100 students that are training to be court stenographers showcased their court reporting skills by rapidly and accurately transcribing dictation.

In order to win, participants had to qualify with the fastest times and a minimum 96 percent accuracy. Two of this year’s twelve winners included Paula Mullen of Maspeth and Alexandra Bourekas of Oakland Gardens.

“We are the guardians of the record. Our role is crucial because we record and preserve the accurate accounts of trials, depositions, grand juries and other crucial aspects of the legal system which are essential to ensuring the fair administration of justice,” said  Plaza College Court Reporting Program Chair and Vice President of the NYS Court Reporters Association, Karen Santucci. “We are extremely proud of the professionals who graduate this program and go on to not only work in the courts but also perform closed captioning and provide services for the hearing impaired. Our students are well prepared for these crucially important well-paying jobs in which they can build their careers.”

Plaza College is currently the only college in New York City to offer a court reporting program with 200 students enrolled. According to the Bureau of Labor Statisticscourt reporting jobs will grow 3 percent nationwide by the year 2026.

While automation and Artificial Intelligence technologies are taking over more workplace functions in the American legal system, the human record keepers outperform the machines in important ways, beating them in accuracy, speed, and reliability.

“Keeping a record is extremely important because if something goes wrong in the trial you need to have a record of that. An accurate record is important to life and society as we know it and it is beneficial for the future,” said Bianna Lewiss, Plaza College NCRA Student Speed Competition Winners and Court Reporting Student. “In big ways it changes lives and in little ways it changes lives.”

To learn more about Plaza College’s court reporting program, visit plazacollege.edu.