From the Ivy League

From the Ivy League

Former teacher Jim Huber finds his passion in medicine
Image of Jim Huber

The depths of the worst economic recession since the 1930s may not seem like an ideal time to walk away from a secure job, but that’s what Jim Huber did.

Five years ago, Huber, a 2001 Rowan graduate, and his wife Kim, had just welcomed their first child. Having achieved tenure as a science teacher at Paul VI High School, Huber’s job was secure at a time when it seemed like every day brought worse economic news than the day before.

What better time to walk away from security to pursue a dream of becoming a physician?

“I had thought about med school in college, and that kept coming back to me when I was teaching,” said Huber. “I was very happy teaching and Paul VI will always be close to my heart, but in the back of my mind I knew that I couldn’t teach for 40 years.”

‘I could do this.’

One evening, while tutoring a college student who was preparing to take the MCATs (Medical College Admissions Test), Huber says he realized that ‘I could do this.’

“My son had just been born, and I was beginning to think it’s now or never,” he said. “When I got home, I asked Kim, ‘What about med school?’”

Not surprisingly, Kim, who earned her bachelor’s degree from Rowan in 2000, was on board with the plan immediately. After all, destiny seems to have brought them together, so why not trust in fate?

The couple grew up less than a mile apart in Williamstown, but never met until they ended up in the same writing class as Rowan freshmen. Married since 2004, they have worked side-by-side as parents, in Kim’s tutoring business and in shouldering the sacrifices needed to successfully navigate medical school. In fact, their 10th wedding anniversary will be on Friday, May 15, the same day that Huber receives his medical degree from RowanSOM. That was obviously not planned, but may be only fitting. Jim largely attributes his medical school success to Kim’s support and encouragement over the past four years.

Residency in New York City

“We’ve always been very supportive of each other’s goals,” said Huber, a member of the first RowanSOM graduating class. “Our personalities complement each other. I’m a ‘go with the flow’ type person while she’s more organized. Kim would have been a great doctor, probably a surgeon.”

Despite his laid back personality, the decision to go to medical school wasn’t sudden. A medical career was something Huber originally considered while earning his chemistry degree at Rowan. In fact, two of his Chemistry Department professors, Robert Newland and Catherine Yang, wrote Huber’s letter of recommendation when he applied to medical school.

“Both saw something in me back then that maybe I didn’t realize was there,” Huber said.

Perhaps it was the same sort of spark that Huber saw in many of the students he taught, especially those with learning or other disabilities. Helping those kids succeed has, in a way, helped him succeed and guided him to choose a career in physical and rehabilitation medicine.  

Now those former students can learn another lesson from “Dr. Huber” on the value of believing in yourself and never being afraid to pursue a dream.

Following a one-year internship at RowanSOM, the Huber family – which now includes son, J.T., and daughter, Samantha – will relocate to the New York City area, where Huber has secured a coveted medical residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital, a program jointly run by Columbia and Cornell Universities.