January 5, 2023

Rebecca Van Valkenburgh, a residential coordinator for The New England Center for Children’s (NECC) Saddle Hill Road residence, is in her fourth year working for NECC. She was nominated by a colleague because she “goes above and beyond to advocate for both staff and students on Saddle Hill Road. She is always willing to help out or provide coaching, but also gives new staff the opportunity to grow professionally. Rebecca cares tremendously for our students, from their clinical and educational programs to the ‘little’ things like celebrating holidays and watching the first snow of the year, which are so important for our residential students! Most notable of all, Rebecca shows up to work every single day with a smile on her face and maintains a positive attitude across all situations, which makes working with her an absolute pleasure.”

How long have you worked for NECC?

This is my fourth year at NECC. I have been a case manager, in a clinical role, core shift manager, and now residential coordinator on Saddle Hill Road.

What is your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of working at NECC is being able to see the progress the students make. It is so rewarding seeing them learn new skills and gain independence!

Why did you choose a career in helping children with autism?

I have always wanted to work with children, and I feel so lucky to start my career at a place like NECC.  


I was introduced to NECC by Dr. Brian Iwata (distinguished professor emeritus of psychology) during my senior year of undergrad at the University of Florida. 

Have you taken advantage of any of the grad programs or teacher training at NECC?

Yes, I am currently finishing up my master’s in ABA through the Western New England University program.

What is something about you that your colleagues might be surprised to learn?

My hidden talent is that I can play the piano!

Who is someone you look up to?

Someone I look up to at NECC is my program specialist Riley Fergus. She has been an incredible mentor and I have learned so much from her over the past few years.

What is your life philosophy or a motto you like to live by?

I like this quote by Theodore Roosevelt, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”