Meet the Faculty: Mary Beth Johnson
Professor of Court Reporting & Department Chair, Business Technologies
Year Joined CCAC
Courses Currently Teaching
Most Memorable CCAC Experience
Walking into a class of new students each August, knowing that the individuals under my tutelage have the potential to become skilled court reporters if I do my job well. My most memorable experience is teaching. My dad was an English teacher. I still remember him correcting papers with a red Lindy pen. I am humbled to follow in his footsteps.
Why I Teach What I Teach
Actually, I went to law school for one year. I quickly discovered that legal textbooks and rigid doctrines were not my cup of tea. I wanted to pursue a career with some affiliation with the law, and court reporting seemed to be a natural segue. I have never looked back. When I tell people that I teach court reporting, many say, "Is that still around? You use that little box? How do you get everything down?"
Court reporters have adopted the mantra "We will not be replaced by technology. We will embrace the future." In 1990 when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed, court reporters transitioned from the courtroom and deposition suite to the classroom and television screens. We now provide government-mandated captioning in sporting arenas (the captioner for the Pittsburgh Pirates is Anna Cillo, a CCAC graduate) as well as for the television screen. The largest captioning company in the world is located outside of Pittsburgh, employing many CCAC graduates.
Something People Might Not Know About Me
I have spent the last six years trying to learn Spanish so that I can offer English language tutoring for free to immigrants who may otherwise not be able to afford to learn English. I believe in the power of education and the importance of minorities being given every opportunity to possess the language skills necessary to acquire a job where they can earn a family sustaining wage.
Through the generous support of our local court reporting community, I was able to facilitate the inception of the CCAC Court Reporters Scholarship. Thousands of dollars have been awarded to students over the years. It is important to me to contribute to this fund, as well.
"I touch the future, I teach." --Christa McAuliffe, teacher and astronaut, killed in the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster