Mathematical Sciences Dept


Owen Byer
Department Chair and Professor of Mathematics

Owen earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics with secondary certification at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Delaware. He first taught at Eastern Mennonite in 1991 as a sabbatical replacement while on leave from graduate school, and then returned for a full-time position in 1999. His graduate training is in combinatorics (graph theory, specifically), and he is currently coauthoring a Discrete Math textbook to explain all he knows about the subject! His hobbies include playing basketball, bridge, and watching NFL football. Owen and his wife Barbara were married in January 1990, with son Cameron born in 1998 and daughter Lily in 2001. The family attends Weavers Mennonite Church in Harrisonburg, Va.

Owen is the chair of EMU’s Mathematical Sciences Department, which includes the mathematics, computer science, and engineering programs.

Charles Cooley
Assistant Professor

Charles Cooley began teaching at EMU in 1999. He received his bachelor’s degree from Roanoke College where he majored in mathematics, computer science and statistics. After two years studying Software Engineering (specifically object-oriented programming language code reusablity metrics) in the CS graduate program at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Charles took a supposedly part-time, one-year teaching position at Concord College in Athens, West Virginia. After a few years of full-time teaching, Charles moved to Harrisonburg and completed a master’s degree in computer science at James Madison University. Before returning to teaching, Charles worked as a Network Analyst and System Engineer. In 2007 with the merger of the CIS and CS programs, Charles began working in the EMU Institutional Research and Effectiveness Office half-time, but resumed full-time teaching to implement the new CS curriculum in 2008. In 2015, Charles is once again splitting his time between teaching computer science and serving as the assistant director of institutional research.

Assoc Prof Emeritus of Math
Daniel King
Asst Professor of Physics

Daniel King graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Goshen College, where he majored in Physics and Music. He received his M. S. and Ph. D. degrees in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from the University of Illinois, where his research focused on the dynamic interactions between ultrasound and contrast agent microbubbles. In addition to bubbles, his broader research interests include acoustics and fluid mechanics. In his spare time he enjoys playing Ultimate and writing quirky little pop songs.

Daniel Showalter
Assistant Professor

Daniel Showalter received a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Urbana University, an M.S. in Mathematics from Ohio University, and a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from Ohio University. At EMU, Daniel teaches mathematics, statistics, and computer science courses. His research interests include rural mathematics education, East Asian mathematics, data visualization, and causal inference on quasiexperimental data. He enjoys coffee conversations, math puzzles, anything multicultural, and dancing with his two little girls.

Esther Tian
Asst Professor Engineering

Esther Tian received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Changsha Institute of Technology in China. She received her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia, where she did an interdisciplinary research on Modeling and Analysis of Neuronal Circuits for Locomotion with Sensory Feedback. Esther taught Statistics and Calculus at the Miller School of Albemarle and read AP exams for the ETS and College Board. In the fall of 2013 Esther joined the Eastern Mennonite University as an Assistant Professor of Engineering, where she teaches engineering and mathematical courses. Her research interests include neuronal control mechanism of animal locomotion and robotics, as well as engineering design education. Esther’s hobbies are reading and hiking. When hiking she enjoys striking new routes, although there is one trail she is especially fond of. It happens to be called Old Trail.

Adjunct Faculty


Diane Bowman
Office Coordinator

Diane Bowman is the Office Coordinator in the Suter Science Center, serving the biology, chemistry, and mathematical sciences departments. Diane is a two-time alumnus of EMU, earning a B.A. in 1995 (Liberal Arts with lots of music) and a Master of Arts in Church Leadership in 2005 (with a focus on congregational education). Prior to seminary, Diane maintained a private piano teaching studio for many years. After seminary, she enjoyed a stint of curriculum writing with Menno Media, and then worked for seven years providing administrative support for Virginia Mennonite Conference and Virginia Mennonite Missions, while further exercising her educational gifts in the church on a volunteer basis. Diane has been in her current role at EMU since July of 2014. She enjoys using her skills in an educational environment with lots of variety and relevance, and with that wonderful sense of community she learned to value in her student days. She still plays the piano in her free time, and loves to go contra dancing for exercise!

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