Interview with Student McKalie Bellew
Interview with Student McKalie Bellew


I know how cliche this will sound but hear me out.  The dictionary defines a “prodigy” as, “a person, especially a young one, endowed with exceptional qualities or abilities”. Rose is the definition of that word in all the best ways.  A talented, yet humble, and kind young woman that flew through her school journey and continues to work hard, grow and impress. I had the privilege of getting more insight on Rose’s journey in the following interview.

Q. How did you find stenography?


A. To be honest, it feels more like stenography found me. During college, I was obsessed with taking career aptitude tests and researching different fields. One night, I fell down an internet rabbit hole of stenography.  I saw that it was a great career for those with an interest in the legal profession, those who like English, and those with a musical background.  Right away, it seemed like a great fit for me.


Q. What were you doing at the time you began your steno journey?

A. When I began my steno journey, I had recently been laid off from my job due to the pandemic and was about to enter into my final semester of senior year at the University of Arizona, majoring in general studies and minoring in film. I had changed my major seven times in college because I could never figure out what it was that I wanted to do. Court reporting came at the perfect time for me.


Q. Where are you from?

A. I was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona.


Q. What is your theory and how long did it take you to finish school?

A. My theory is Magnum Steno, and I completed court reporting school in ten months.


Q. What was the most challenging part about your journey through school for you?

A. The most challenging part of school was definitely adjusting to a whole new way of learning. It was a total shift in mindset to switch from constantly aiming for perfection to, instead, shooting for progress and failing forward. Once I got the hang of maintaining a positive mindset and giving myself rest and self‑care when needed, I was able progress quickly.


Q. What are your goals as a professional?

A. My current goal is to be a realtime reporter. Since I started working seven months ago I’ve been working hard on my accuracy and improving on my translation rate. I am hoping to earn the CRR this year.  As for a long‑term goal, I would love to explore all of the opportunities this career has to offer.  Right now I am freelancing, but one day I would love to experience providing CART or captioning live events.


Q. We met at Steno in the City which was put together by Shaunise Day, tell us about your experience at this convention and if anything special happened, or any seminar that stood out to you in particular.

A. I had a total blast at the Fearless Stenographers conference in Houston this year. I loved being able to see my online friends in person, as well as meeting other reports and hearing all about their careers and goals. Some highlights for me include watching Mark Kislingbury beat his world record live, hearing the inspirational Brenda Countz talk about her amazing career, and seeing Allie Hall receive her well‑deserved philanthropy award.


Q. If I’m not mistaken, you won an award or scholarship at the Fearless Stenographers luncheon too; is that right?

A. Yes, I did. I won the New Professional Scholarship at Steno in the City. I had been working for just over three months at that time.


Q. Do you have any mentors or motivators from when you were in school, or now as a professional?

A. My biggest motivator and cheerleader throughout my whole court reporting journey has most definitely been my teacher, Allie Hall. Those who know her know that she always has the perfect thing to say to get you feeling invigorated and focused. I still can’t believe how lucky I was to end up in her theory class.  Even now as a working reporter she has been by my side and has continued to help me accomplish my professional goals.


Q. What has been the most challenging part about your career as a certified reporter, if any? What has been the most fun or rewarding part?

A. One of the most challenging parts I have found of being a working reporter is getting used to the way people talk and their speech partners. Seven months in, I finally feel like I’m getting a little more comfortable with punctuating disjointed speakers on the fly, but it is definitely something I want to focus on improving. The most rewarding part of the job is without a doubt the flexibility.  I love that I get to work when I want to and in the hours where I feel the most productive.  I love that I am able to choose to take things a little slow my first year as I get used to everything, and even then, I am still making a great living.


Q. What advice do you have for students working to get through school now?

A. If you haven’t already, find some way to get involved in the court reporting community, whether that be by going to convention or joining Facebook groups or zoom practice groups. I have truly never come across a more welcoming and encouraging group of people. Steno is such a unique and challenging skill, which is why it is so beneficial to surround yourself with students going through the same challenges you are and reporters who made it through and can offer advice and have encouragement.


Q. What is your favorite part of conventions and how was this helpful to attend as a student, and as a working professional?

A. I have been to two court reporting conventions so far, one as a student and one as a new professional. After both conventions I gained knew certifications, and I don’t think that is a coincidence. Something about being around other passionate reporters and people facing the same struggles you are just lighting this fire under you.  As someone who attended school entirely online and now works remotely, these conventions are a great opportunity for me to network with reporters in person, as well as catch up with friends I have made via social media.  It’s like a big reunion party, networking event, and learning opportunity all wrapped up in one.