Faculty Spotlight Series – Professor Christina Riggs Romaine

Name: Christina L. Riggs Romaine, Ph.D.
Position: Associate Professor of Psychology
Years at Wheaton: 7
Hometown: Greensburg, IN
Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Juvenile Forensic Psychology, UMass Medical School, Worcester, MA
Ph.D., Clinical Psychology with a Forensic Concentration, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
M.S., Clinical Psychology with a Forensic Concentration, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
B.A., Psychology and Art History, Gordon College, Wenham, MA


Where is your favorite spot to work from home? My family moved in the fall, and until March the guest room/office had been a pile of boxes and a disassembled table leaning against the wall. Quarantine and socially-distanced life quickly motivated us to deal with those last boxes, and the home office has evolved into piles of books, art made by kids tacked on the walls, and usually a few abandoned toys. I like that when I sit at my desk, I can see the sky and trees.

What are you currently watching on TV or reading? Early in pandemic life, I came across Never Have I Ever.. which was fun and smart. Mindy Kaling is always a winner in my book. For no reason whatsoever, my family declared it a pandemic goal to re-watch all the Harry Potter Movies. At the time of this writing, we are half-way through The Deathly Hallows. I dearly love to read. This summer has been ⅓ non-fiction related to the current times (How to be an Anti-racist by Kendi, Critical Race Theory by Delgado & Stefancic), ⅓ fiction with absolutely no pandemic themes (the Inspector Gamache books by Penny- the characters are human in all the best and worst ways) and ⅓ C.S. Lewis and Roald Dahl as we’ve traveled Narnia and had splendiferous, scrumdiddlyumptious fun with the little human beans.

What is the best way to stay connected with others? The way that works and leaves you feeling better, not worse. We are wired for social connection. I think ‘best’ ways really vary with demands of life and dynamics of the friendship. I have ongoing text threads with friends that sometimes spread over minutes or days- but keep us connected. Other relationships, we’re in touch less often but more deeply. The key is paying attention and being aware of how you’re feeling (maybe disconnected after a week of texting, content after a zoom catch-up, or cross after viewing friends’ Instagram) so you can change or course-correct what you’re doing when needed.

What is your favorite event to attend at Wheaton College? Any event my students are part of. (Did you know your faculty love it when you tell us about your events and invite us to see? We do.) I love seeing my students work outside the classroom- whether that is a dance show, a research fair, or the basketball court. I will never forget watching 5 of my brilliant research methods students absolutely dominate the court on the women’s basketball team, and being floored by the power and insight of another’s spoken word poetry. I never miss the Dance Co. show, and my daughter and I count down and attend the annual Paraíso Latino dance performance like we’re being graded on it.

What is your favorite place on the Wheaton College Campus? The dimple, on the first fall days with a crisp chill in the air.

What living person do you most admire? Bryan Stevenson.

What is your favorite movie? Amélie

Do you have pets? What are they? Rosie, a gray-ish black pitbull we rescued two years ago. She has a white splotch on her chest that looks just like a Rorschach inkblot, like she was meant to be a psychologist’s dog.

What is your most cherished possession? Most is hard to answer. I like how objects can be links to memories, of people, places, prior times and adventures. In my office, I most cherish Tallahassee, the wooden parrot. He hung on my grandmother’s porch my entire life, watching countless kids traipse in and out and listening to all of us playing the piano terribly. I like that he watches my students traipse in and out now.

What is your motto? Usually, it is “we are not excused from what we can do, simply because there are things we cannot do” (Bazelon in Washington v. U.S.). In the current pandemic, it has become “do the next right thing” (Anna in Frozen 2). In addition to being forced to watch Frozen 2 on repeat, pandemic life (and adulting anytime) requires big decisions with big implications and countless unknowns. It can be truly overwhelming and difficult to proceed with any mindfulness or wisdom. Considering the next right thing helps.

If you weren’t teaching your current discipline what would you teach? Art History. I love art, particularly seeing how one artist’s work influences and leaves fingerprints on the work of another.