Awards and Staff Accomplishments

Maeve Donnelly, MS, BCBA, 2012 BABAT/B.F.Skinner Foundation Student Research Award

On August 29, 2012 NECC Program Specialist Maeve Donnelly, MS, BCBA received the 2012  BABAT/BF SKINNER FOUNDATION STUDENT RESEARCH AWARD.  The B. F. Skinner Foundation, in association with the Student Relations Committee of The Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis and Therapy (BABAT), sponsors this award for graduate student research.  A student in the NECC/Western New England University PhD program, Maeve was recognized for her research proposal "Prevalence and Effects of Teaching Errors on Acquisition of Self-Care Chains".

Jacqueline Marra, 2013 Myrna E. Libby Scholar Award
Ashley Palmeri, 2013 Myrna E. Libby Scholar Award 

In 2009, a scholar award was established to honor NECC's long time friend and colleague Dr. Myrna E. Libby.  The Myrna E. Libby Scholar Award is presented yearly to two NECC master's degree students whose work most exemplifies Myrna's vision that research guides the education and treatment of individuals with autism and so improves their lives.  The 2013 scholar awards were announced and given to two graduate students at an all-school event by NECC's Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Vincent Strully, Jr.

 Award Scholar Jacqueline Marra is a Western New England University graduate who has impressed the graduate faculty and her clinical supervisors with her passion for learning, her creativity and her professionalism. As a graduate student, she was one of the top performers in the class, frequently contributing to class discussion and demonstrating her skills as a writer and presenter.  She impressed her professors with her ability to critically evaluate research methods.  Her graduate thesis involves a procedure shown to be effective in treating a student's severe self-injury, a project that exemplifies the important combination of research informing best practice advocated by Myrna.  Jackie is currently the Residential Coordinator on Saddle Hill Road and throughout the year has shown herself to be bright, motivated, and conscientious in the execution of her job responsibilities.  Having very quickly established herself as a leader on the team, she sought out additional responsibility in the form of clinical supervision for one student on the team, designing and implementing assessments and disseminating subsequent behavioral programming.  Jackie exemplifies many of the qualities that Myrna desired in teachers and graduate students and so we are extremely pleased to present her with this award.

Award Scholar Ashley Palmeri is a Simmons College graduate who has always demonstrated her commitment to becoming the best teacher she could be.  She has excelled in applying the principles of behavior analysis to solve the clinical and educational challenges her students present. Ashley was in the top tier of students in all of her Simmons classes (clearly evidenced by her 4.0 GPA).  Her BABAT presentation on observational learning during group instruction was both engaging and informative.  Her research supports the idea that our students can exhibit observational learning during group lessons and she subsequently modified the groupings in her classroom to take advantage of this finding.  Ashley is in all ways an exemplary teacher and supervisor.  She has an impressive ability to multitask, always meeting deadlines yet always taking time to provide training and feedback to her teachers.  Ashley  has volunteered for and has assumed responsibility for clinical supervision of a case, presenting at peer review and med meeting. In Myrna's spirit, Ashley is receiving this award for her exceptional work as a teacher and supervisor and her continued pursuit in improving services to our students through her research.

Top 10 Most Cited Article

RDDIn August 2010, the journal article "Stereotypy in young children with autism and typically developing children"  was distinguished as one of the "Top 10 most-cited articles" by the journal Research in Developmental Disabilities Published in 2007, the article was authored by NECC staff members Dr. Rebecca MacDonald,  Intensive Instruction Program Director;  Renee Mansfield, Director of ACE; Amy Geckeler, Director of Public School Services; Nicole Gardenier, Assistant Director-Consulting and Training; Dr. William Holcomb, Director of UAE Consulting Services; June Sanchez, Senior Consultant and former NECC employees Dr. Gina Green and Jen Anderson.

Vincent Strully, Jr., Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters
Western New England University

Vinnie Strully WNECWestern New England University (WNE) has awarded Vincent Strully, Jr., Chief Executive Officer and Founder, an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.  Mr. Strully delivered the Commencement Address at the college's commencement exercises on Saturday, May 16, 2009. For over 38 years Mr. Strully has worked to establish NECC as an internationally recognized leader in autism intervention, research and professional development. Other honorary degree recipients have included: CNN correspondent Wolf Blitzer; Boston College Chancellor Rev. James Donald Monan; U.S. Congressman Richard E. Neal;  and 11-time NBA champion William Russell. In 2008 Western New England University launched a Ph.D. Program in Behavior Analysis with courses offered onsite at The New England Center for Children.  The program is taught by the university's own full-time tenured or tenure-track psychology faculty as well as clinical adjunct faculty from NECC.  This program developed in response to the increasing demand for scientists and practitioners in the area of autism and related disabilities, and its curriculum is designed to foster the development of leaders in the field.

William Ahearn, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Outstanding Applied Research Award
Eileen Roscoe, Ph.D., BCBA-D, B.F. Skinner New Researcher Award
American Psychological Association, Division 25

On August 6, 2009, two of NECC's staff members received awards from Division 25 (Behavior Analysis) of the American Psychological Association at the annual conference held this year in Toronto, Canada.  Bill Ahearn, Director of Research, was bestowed the Outstanding Applied Research Award for innovative and important research on applications of behavioral principles to address socially significant human behavior. The title of his acceptance address was "Can an applied researcher follow Skinner's advice? Looking at one thing, finding another."  Eileen Roscoe, Assistant Director of Research, received the B. F. Skinner New Researcher Award for innovative and important research in behavior analysis conducted within the first seven years of receiving a doctorate. The title of her acceptance address was "Refinements in functional analysis methodology." Congratulations to both of these researchers for their dedication to improving the lives of our students.

The Kresge Foundation

NECC received a challenge grant from The Kresge Foundation in 2006 for the construction of the Michael S. Dukakis Aquatic Center.

Kresge Foundation

Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis

In 2005, NECC received recognition from our professional peers in accepting the SABA award for Enduring Programmatic Contributions in Behavior Analysis from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis.


U.S. Department of Education

The only private special education school to ever achieve such recognition, in 2000 NECC received the National Award for Model Professional Development from the USDOE.

United States Department of Education