Plaza College court reporting student wins prestigious scholarship

Photo courtesy of the Association for Court Reporters and Captioners

Lydia Martinez, a court reporting student at Plaza College in Forest Hills, was named as the recipient of the National Court Reporters Association’s 2023 Council on Approved Student Education (CASE) scholarship prize of $750. The National Court Reporters Association, which is the United States’ leading organization representing stenographic court reporters, captioners and legal videographers, made this announcement on Tuesday, Nov. 14.

The National Court Reporters Association gave out a total of five scholarships, in the amounts of $250, $500, $750, $1,000 and $1,500. To be eligible to apply, students were required to be actively attending a court reporting program approved by the National Court Reporters Association, have an exemplary academic record and to have passed a skills test, writing 140-180 words per minute at the time of submission. Applicants were also required to submit an essay on a topic chosen by CASE.

Martinez received the scholarship after impressing the National Court Reporters Association with her essay. As was the case with each applicant for the scholarship, she was tasked with writing an essay describing an experience in which she faced an obstacle or adversity at school, how she overcame it and what she learned from that experience.

“Learning that I was eligible for the scholarship meant that I had an opportunity to share my story,” Martinez said. “Winning meant that my story was heard and that means a lot. Nothing beats a failure but a try.”

According to Martinez, her late mother was the one who introduced her to the shorthand writing systems Gregg and Pitman. This led her to take on shorthand as a major while in high school. It was through this major that she was introduced to stenography.

Martinez said that while she still has yet to decide upon a direct career path, being able to attend conferences like the National Court Reporters Association Conference and Expo have inspired her to continue exploring this field. It was through these conferences that she had the opportunity to connect with officials, captioners and freelancers, gaining more insight into the roles each play in their careers.

Another organization that Martinez said has helped inspire her is the African American Court Reporter’s Association, whose members have furthered her vision by expanding on areas where she can ultimately align her personal and professional life no matter what route she chooses. Additionally, Martinez emphasized the support she has received from the New York Stenographic Court Reporters Association and Plaza College.

Court reporters and captioners rely on the latest in technology, using stenographic machines to capture the spoken word and translate it into written text in real time. They apply their work in and out of the courtroom, recording legal cases and depositions, providing live captioning of events and assisting members of the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities by providing access to information, entertainment, educational opportunities and more.

For over a century, the National Court Reporters Association has been internationally recognized for promoting excellence among those who capture and convert the spoken word to text. It is committed to supporting its 12,000+ members in achieving the highest level of professional expertise with educational opportunities and industry-recognized court reporting, educator and videographer certification programs.

The organization has also impacted legislative issues and the global marketplace through its actively involved membership. NCRA’s STRONG Committee, which promotes stenographic captioning and court reporting as the best means to maintain the accuracy of the record, aims to combat false proclamations that digital and automatic speech recognition (ASR) methods of capturing the spoken word are better and/or cheaper than stenographic means.

For more information on the CASE Student Scholarship, contact the Education Department at schools@ncra.org