Family Ties Yield Shared Interest
Dr. Evelyn McDowell and her son, Patrick
After school, Patrick McDowell and his sisters would often help their mother, who owned an accounting practice, in her Cleveland, Ohio, home office. Patrick, a teenager at the time, began by focusing on filing, but soon learned how to use the tax software and started to input the data into the computer.
“My mom would always say that I should be an accountant; that it would be a good fit for me. I told myself that there was no way that I would be an accountant and had my mind fixed on becoming a sports agent,” Patrick said. “I saw the long hours my mom worked, as well as the stress, and decided that it would not be my profession.”
However, as a freshman Actuarial Science major at Temple University, Patrick had a change of heart. After taking two accounting classes, Patrick developed a greater interest in the subject and decided to transfer to Rider’s Accounting program, where his mom, Dr. Evelyn McDowell, is an assistant professor.
“I knew Rider was a good choice. It was close to home and smaller. I knew who to talk to in the Accounting department, and I liked how the professors and staff were so personable,” Patrick said. “I also knew I would develop connections in the accounting business through my relationships with Rider faculty.”
Now a senior Accounting and Finance dual major, Patrick is planning to pursue a career in accounting. He recently accepted a spring co-op at the public accounting firm, Rothstein Kass, in Roseland, N.J. Patrick said the knowledge and experience he has gained in and outside of the classroom will help him enormously.
“As a residence adviser in Olson Hall, I have learned how to give feedback to fellow RAs while working on projects. I learned how to keep everything professional. I think that’s definitely going to help me,” he said.
Evelyn said knowing how to identify control problems and giving feedback to clients is critical in the accounting profession. “That skill is going to help him tremendously on the job. A large part of the job as an auditor is giving and receiving feedback,” she explained.
While her son excels in and out of the classroom, Evelyn teaches the introductory financial, managerial, intermediate, and governmental and nonprofit accounting courses, and researches the relevance of accounting information and decision making in charitable giving and tax policy. In addition, she serves as faculty adviser to the Rider Chapter of the Institute of Management Accountants. Evelyn was a recipient of the Ph.D. Project Doctoral Scholarship as a Ph.D. student at Case Western Reserve University. McDowell applied for a $10,000 grant from the Nellie Mae Foundation, backed by the Bill Gates Foundation, and sponsored by Allen Boston, a member of the College of Business Administration Executive Advisory Council. Rider recently received the grant, which is designed to help minority accounting students succeed in the classroom and ultimately their careers.
“Accounting is great. I like the idea that the math does not change and you are able to provide a service for people,” Evelyn said. “I’m very proud of Patrick. I worked so many hours developing my practice, so I never thought any of my children would want my job. I think they could see how much I loved what I was doing. I am also grateful to Rider because of the opportunities it makes available to all students and the wonderful education Patrick is receiving
Patrick agreed. “I think the 15-year-old me would be disappointed that I chose the same profession as my mom, but I am glad I chose this field,” he said.