Associate Dean Sharon Caraballo solves problems on stage and in class

Being a computer scientist, a university administrator, and a stage actor must be statistically rare. Nevertheless, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs, Sharon Caraballo, finds common ground between these seemingly disparate fields.

“The same analytical thinking that helps in computer science can be used to analyze a script and learn about a character,” says Caraballo. “Finding a character often comes down to a matter of problem solving.”

Both teaching and acting involve public speaking and for Caraballo that is another similarity. She said that when she started teaching and experienced the energy that comes from a class when things are going well, she realized how much she wanted to perform.

When she first began acting and saw the number of rehearsals, Caraballo thought it would be exhausting, but for her the opposite is true. Because acting uses a different part of her brain from her administrative duties, she finds energy and balance in the combination.

“I came to acting recently,” said Caraballo. “My first play was The Sound of Music with the City of Fairfax Theatre Company in 2011, where I played three different roles. After that I was hooked and have been performing ever since.'

Last year, she saw an audition announcement for a staged reading of a new play, I Ain’t Made That Way. Caraballo ended up acting as the narrator and performing several other roles. When the full play is staged this spring, Caraballo will play the role of Mary, who also happens to be her favorite character.

“Mary is a lot of fun to play because she has such a strong personality,” said Caraballo. “She is upfront about everything she’s thinking and feeling. While she may sometimes come across as overbearing, it’s all tempered with her deep love for her family and her playful sense of humor.”

In addition to administrative responsibilities and rehearsing, Caraballo has become a Mason student by enrolling in her first college acting class.

“I’m enjoying it and plan to continue taking classes. I may even decide to pursue a theater degree,” she said.


Recent Acting Highlights:

Mercy Street (PBS drama).

The Wizard of Oz (Zemfira Stage, Falls Church, VA)

I Ain’t Made That Way (Staged reading).

Pocahontas: Beyond the Myth (documentary on the Smithsonian Channel).

Hairspray (upcoming), Castaways Repertory Theatre, Woodbridge, VA; April 28 - May 21,

Pray for the Dead: A Musical Tale of Morgues, Moguls, and Mutiny (upcoming), PftD Productions and Clifton Theatre, Clifton, VA; August 4-6,


Pull Quote:

“Working on I Ain’t Made That Way is an amazing experience. Our director, Amelia Townsend is also one of the playwrights. Because of that we’re able to get into so much depth with these characters. It’s unlike any show I’ve done before.”


About the play:

When the town of Keokee, in Southwest, Virginia gathers to celebrate with their favorite son, old resentments, tall tales and a few cases of mistaken identity are served up along with the banana pudding. Set in the real community, this play explores cultural stereotypes and how family members live with deep-seated resentments.


I Ain’t Made That Way - Shoestring Theatre Company. World premiere. Old Town Fairfax, part of the Spotlight on the Arts Festival 2017, April 22-23,