Assumption, New England Center for Children Announce Partnership Providing Students Opportunities to Collaborate with Leaders in Autism Research 

May 18, 2021
Office of Communications
Assumption ABA class
Karen Lionello-DeNolf, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology and director of the Assumption University Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program calls the new partnership with The New England Center for Children a "natural fit."

Assumption University and The New England Center for Children (NECC), an internationally recognized leader in autism intervention, research, and professional development, have announced an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Fellowship, which will allow students the opportunity to pursue a Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis degree at Assumption while working with research professionals at NECC. 

“Assumption has a strong, comprehensive academic program that is designed to give students a well-rounded education in the basic, applied, and conceptual branches of behavior analysis,” said Karen Lionello-DeNolf, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology and director of the University’s ABA program. “In addition, through this Fellowship, students will have the opportunity to work with and learn from leaders in autism research at NECC, which is a tremendous opportunity for students to learn about and participate in high-quality applied research related to autism intervention.”

According to Prof. Lionello-DeNolf, Assumption’s ABA master’s degree program includes a practicum sequence that is aligned with the students’ coursework and allows them to develop clinical skills in a coordinated fashion. The focus on developing each student’s competencies in all areas relevant to practice will be further strengthened by the clinical supervision and exposure to research that Fellows will receive at NECC.

“Applied behavior analysis is at the core of our work here,” said Vincent Strully, Jr., founder and chief executive officer of NECC. “As an organization, we are committed to fostering a network of behavior analysts who can help children with autism around the world, and this Fellowship is part of this mission. We are incredibly excited to be welcoming Assumption graduate students onto our team.”

Those awarded a Fellowship will complete a research thesis under the co-mentorship of an Assumption faculty member and a NECC professional and receive 26 credits of tuition remission (a value of $20,000), a unique feature that is uncommon on the master’s degree level. Fellows will receive supervision of up to 2,000 fieldwork hours by licensed Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) and have the opportunity to participate in ABA research projects at Assumption and at NECC. Qualified ABA students will also have the prospect of being hired into full-time positions at NECC.

Assumption and NECC have partnered on the undergraduate level for many years. Each year, six to ten undergraduate students complete internships in human services and rehabilitation studies or psychology at NECC, and more than 40 Assumption alumni are currently employed by the organization. Prof. Lionello-DeNolf said that after Assumption created the master’s degree program in ABA, it was a natural fit to partner with NECC at the graduate level as well. 

Strully was awarded an honorary doctorate at the University’s 104th commencement ceremony on May 9. He was recognized for his “four decades of selfless service” in which he has dedicated himself to “empowering those in the autism community.”