Skip to main content
Faculty/Staff Resources
What is Health and Human Development?

Diverse fields of study that share one
common goal: enriching the lives of others.

Search search
Mobile Search:
Kristin Thomas
Kristin Thomas
Associate Teaching Professor
Meetings and Event Management Certificate Faculty Coordinator, RPTM
Faculty Senate, Senator
Summary Statement

I intertwine my research on in and out of classroom experiences (mostly, international) with my teaching approach by bringing the out-of-class learning experience into the classroom.

  • Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management - RPTM
  • Undergraduate Program
  • Internships
  • Meetings and Events Management Certificate - MEMC
  • Travel and Tourism Behavior
  • Travel and Tourism Research Group
  • Faculty Senate / HHD Shared Governance
+ See All - See Less
  • Ph.D., Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, The Pennsylvania State University
  • M.A., Education Leadership in Student Affairs, Eastern Michigan University
  • B.A., Public Relations, French Minor, Eastern Michigan University
+ See All - See Less
Office Address
The Pennsylvania State University
701C Donald H. Ford Building
University Park, PA 16802
  • University Faculty Senate, 
  • Health and Human Development Senator
  • Global Learning Faculty Fellowship Program
  • Meeting and Events Management Coordinator, RPTM
Professional Experience

On the faculty since 2017, Kristin Thomas, Ph.D. is an Assistant Teaching Professor in Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management (RPTM) at Penn State University, USA. Her portfolio of work includes eleven plus years of event and program management and design, developing courses and co-curricular programs (domestic and international), and research on development, learning, and sense-making during travel and recreational experiences. She is also the RPTM Faculty Coordinator for the Meeting and Events Management Certificate. Kristin recently developed the Experience Design and Event Management virtual engagement course collaborating, now, with Breda University of Applied Sciences.

Accomplishments of which she is proud include creating and running the Global Engagement and Leadership Experience, and international program for U.S and international students, col-leading international and national engaged scholarship opportunities and authoring and teaching the Experience Design and Event Management virtual engagement course collaborating, now, with Breda University of Applied Sciences.

Grants and Research Projects

My research focuses on meaning-making, learning, and motivations and expectations during travel experiences (educational, heritage, and virtual) using qualitative and mixed-methods.  I have presented research findings at national and international conferences including Northeastern Recreation Research Symposium, CIEE, The Forum on Education Abroad, PaCIE, and the Michigan College Student Personnel Assocation. I have three articles in process:  Can Tourism and Education Abroad Mix?; The Awe in Awesome in Education Abroad; Old influences and Blurred Lines:  Student, tourist, and traveler, as needed.


Thomas, K., & Kerstetter, D. (2020). The Awe in Awesome in Education Abroad. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal on Education Abroad, 32(2), 94-119. doi:DOI 10.36366/frontiers.v32i2.469