Christina Whelan, a native of Ireland, is the team administrative coordinator (TAC) for NECC’s West 1, Higley Road, and Parker Road residences. Before becoming TAC of her Triad in 2019, she held several positions including teacher, case manager, and core shift manager. A colleague nominated Christina because “she works tirelessly to ensure adequate staffing for all teams and has been an amazing resource for everyone throughout the current staffing situation. We are all so thankful for her hard work across the three teams!”   

How did you end up at NECC? 

I moved to the U.S. from Ireland to get married to my now-husband Jim. We met in 2014 when we both worked at Maine Teen Camp in Porter, ME, and were in a long-distance relationship for two years before I moved here in 2016 and we got married.  A BCBA in one of my old schools in Dublin had recommended I look into NECC since I was living in Massachusetts, and the rest is history. 

What is your favorite part of your job? 

Although I don’t get to do it as often as I would like right now, my favorite part of my job has always been spending time with students. Everything we do at NECC is to better enrich the lives of our students, and although I’m no longer in a direct-care position my main focus day-to-day is ensuring that the students are well cared for. 

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

When I was 15, I began volunteering at a club for children and young adults with disabilities near my home in Dublin. I always loved spending time with everyone in the club and helping with their weekly activities (games, music sessions, trips in the local community) and loved attending their summer camp each year! 

From a young age I had my heart set on a career in teaching, and always felt an affinity for working with students with special needs, especially autism. I pursued my [bachelor’s degree in education] at Maynooth University in Kildare, choosing electives in special education whenever they were available. After graduating, I taught for two years in special schools for children with autism in Dublin, before immigrating to the U.S. and starting work at NECC. 

What do you like doing outside of work? 

I’m quite an artistic and crafty person, so I love working on craft projects in my spare time. Most recently, I’ve been working on quilt making. I’m also a bit of a bookworm and film nerd, so enjoy taking some time with a good book or movie whenever I get a chance! 

Do you know a staff member who should be recognized for his or her hard work? Submit the name, department, and a few lines about why your nominee is deserving of the NECC Staff Spotlight to [email protected].