Tag Archives: Eric McDowell

Eric McDowell and Hannah Avery in "Proof"FAMILY DYNAMICS: Professor of Mathematics Dr. Eric McDowell performs with on-stage daughter Hannah Avery during the Berry College Theatre Company’s recent production, “Proof.”

Eric McDowell in "Proof"Anyone who has ever studied mathematics with Dr. Eric McDowell will tell you he brings a theatrical flair to his teaching. He has even gone so far as to collaborate with students on ingeniously creative (and award-winning!) videos that educate as they entertain.

In November, the longtime Berry faculty member stepped out of the classroom and onto the Sisters Theatre stage in a role seemingly created just for him. Acting alongside students Hannah Avery, Andy Sphar and Katie Cooley, McDowell infused elements of his own personality into “Robert,” a recently deceased mathematician beset by mental illness in his final years whose relationship with his daughter is the crux of the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning Proof.

“I could just have easily been playing a history professor or a writing teacher, I don’t think it would have really mattered,” McDowell said. “The personality I put into Robert is very much my own. I see a lot of me in him anyway. How much of that is the mathematician I don’t know.”

McDowell’s fascination with acting dates to a childhood role in The Sound of Music. A 30-year hiatus followed high school, but recent years have found him performing in such local productions as Spamalot, Into the Woods and Almost, Maine. His Berry College Theatre Company debut came about as the result of a request by guest director Jon Royal, who sought an obvious age difference between “Robert” and the student performers.

The experience left McDowell profoundly impressed by all aspects of Berry theatre.

“My favorite part of the process was watching the other three actors perform and being so impressed with how talented they are,” he reflected. “It was my first look inside Berry theatre, and everybody is so professional in their work.”

Student media: Actors display “raw” emotions in Proof

Reporting by student writer Kendall Aronson

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Senior Josy Roman and Dr. Eric McDowell have once again struck gold with a video collaboration, winning a second-place national award in the Broadcast Education Association’s Festival of Media Arts for The Calculus Priority Dispute. This is the second consecutive year that McDowell and Roman have placed second in the “Two-Year/Small College Video Production” category. This time they were joined by senior Michael Baldvins, who assisted Roman in producing and creating the animation. Both students work for Viking Fusion, a co-curricular multimedia website based in and managed by the communication department.

In other recent news, the Berry College Forensics Union continued its dominance of the Georgia Intercollegiate Forensic Association, winning nine of 11 events en route to its 20th consecutive state tournament championship. Highlights included the 1-2 finish of junior Nicole Wilson and freshman Logan Ramsey in persuasive speaking. Their reward is a trip to James Madison University in April as Georgia’s representatives in the 145th Interstate Oratory Contest.

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It’s becoming increasingly obvious that Professor of Mathematics Eric McDowell will do anything in the name of education. Fresh off a second-place national award for a previous collaboration with students working for Berry’s Viking Fusion multimedia website, McDowell is at it again – this time putting an animated spin on the 17th-century Calculus Priority Dispute between Sir Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. We’ll let McDowell and student producers Josy Roman and Michael Baldvins take it from here. Enjoy!

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Dr. Eric McDowell’s zeal to bring a little musical flair to mathematics education has resulted in a second-place national award from the Broadcast Education Association for his latest ditty, Roll Call. Following on the heels of earlier productions Mr. Math Man and Derivative Rag, this video once again features the Berry faculty member bursting into song, this time presenting the names of famous mathematicians to the tune of Gilbert and Sullivan’s I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General from The Pirates of Penzance. Production credits for the award-winning video go to sophomore Josy Roman. This is Dr. McDowell’s fourth collaboration with Viking Fusion, Berry’s student-run multimedia website.

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