Knitting, Gardening (But Not Biking) Bring Joy to Newest Psych Professor
Reinka comes to Collegeville from the University of Connecticut, where she was a doctoral candidate in the social psychology program. Her academic interests focus on the stress and coping processes of stigma. She examines how individuals from marginalized groups interpret—and cope—with stressors surrounding their group identity.
“I have looked at this in several groups, most recently within the domain of weight stigma,” says Reinka. “Recently, my collaborators and I published a paper showing that a greater history of weight cycling (or “yo-yo dieting,” repeatedly gaining and losing weight) is associated with depression. However, we found that this relationship could be partially explained through internalized weight bias: those who are frequent dieters tend to have greater feelings of internalized weight bias, and this in turn increases depression symptoms.”
Off campus, Reinka admits that her 25 lb. terrier mix, Cassie, “absolutely rules the house.” Along with her husband, the avid knitter spends early mornings tending a community garden plot in Phoenixville that “brings me a lot of joy, not to mention produce.”
“One surprising fact about me is that I can’t ride a bike,” says Reinka. “An adulthood shame, I know! I learned as a child, but simply fell and hurt myself far too many times to get back on. It is not, in fact, just like riding a bike.”