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Sharynn Tomlin: World Traveler

April 16, 2008

Growing up in San Angelo, Dr. Sharynn Tomlin dreamed of visiting exotic locales.  Now, as head of Angelo State University’s International Studies program, she has become a world traveler.

Director of the program since 2000, Tomlin often leaves home and hearth behind to accompany student academic trips and attend conferences in places like Scotland, Costa Rica, Ireland, Belgium, France, Mexico, Spain and Canada.  While it’s technically work, for her it’s just living the dream.

“I’ve always been fascinated by different cultures, where people came from and how they got here,” Tomlin said.  “It’s just a natural curiosity about the world around us.”

Born a California girl in Monterrey, Tomlin’s first taste of travel came as a five-year old when her family moved to San Angelo.  Now, her favorite destination is Paris, though she also recommends Vancouver, and she thinks everyone could benefit from study abroad.

“The real educational value is truly in how our students can see the world around them,” Tomlin said.  “It’s often a life-changing experience for both the students and the faculty that accompany them.”

A 20-year ASU faculty member, Tomlin also interacts with many foreign students in her international business and management classes.  She sees them enjoying many of the same experiences at ASU.

“The one thing I hear consistently from many of my international students is that they don’t want to go back home, they want to stay here,” Tomlin said.  “A lot of them, even the ones just here on exchange programs, do end up coming back and finishing up their degrees or coming back and completing their master’s work.”

Despite her globe-trotting tendencies, Tomlin has found a “second home” at Angelo State.  She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from ASU before taking her Ph.D. from North Texas State.  Her husband, Stuart, also attended ASU, where the pair lived in married student housing.  Their son, Les, their daughter, Rebecca, and daughter-in-law, Amanda, are ASU alumni. 

Tomlin’s hope now is that her four grandchildren will follow in her footsteps, both at ASU and around the world.