Josh Jacob

photo of Josh Jacob

  • BA in Physics (2006)
  • MAT, Georgia State University (2010)
  • owner and managing partner of Limerick Junction Pub in Atlanta, Georgia
  • conducted undergraduate research with physics professor Jennifer Blue

My Profession

"I am the managing partner of a bar in Atlanta, Georgia called Limerick Junction Pub. It's Atlanta's oldest Irish pub, named after a little town in Ireland. The pub first opened over 30 years ago, and I've been involved for 8 years. My business partner took it over in 2010, during the economic recession, the previous owners were thinking about closing the bar, but we kept it going, and I became general manager in 2013. Then, in 2016, I was offered a full partnership.

"My path to acquiring this Irish pub began while I was finishing up graduate school at Georgia State University pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching. I was certified to teach 6-12 grade science within the state, and Limerick Junction was where I worked on the side. After I graduated, I began working full-time while looking for other jobs, but due to the recession there weren't many available. I finally decided that I liked working at the pub, was pretty good at it, and felt a passion for serving the community by giving people a friendly, social space. I loved the community, my fellow employees, and my customers and realized it's rare to have a job that feels so fulfilling — and this one absolutely does!."

My Miami Experiences

"To me, physics has always been incredibly fascinating because it's focused on answering the mysteries of the universe. To really understand physics, you have to have a nice mix of the mathematical and the philosophical, since many concepts just don't make sense on paper. What I mean is that you can talk to a physics professor about the heavy research they do, but you can also talk with someone who enjoyed Neil DeGrasse Tyson's show Cosmos. Some physics topics don't involve a lot of math, or they could be things we don't yet know a lot about. No one needs to feel dumb — we experience things within the realm of physics every day, and it's really about taking time to ask questions and learn. I love that.

"As far as my physics degree from Miami is concerned, the biggest thing I learned has nothing to do specifically with physics itself, but I gained the ability to think critically and solve problems. In my current position, every single day is different. Some days are completely routine, where I think about improving the status quo, and then there are days that are not routine — such as on St. Patrick's Day, our largest business day of the year. Last year we suffered a surprise power outage for 4 hours, but instead of having a freak-out about it, the key was figuring out what to do and identifying the overall problem. It's about taking all the little problems one at a time, such as can we still serve people? Do we need to put candles in the restrooms? How long will our beverages stay cold? This is the kind of problem solving and critical thinking that I truly feel I gained from my Miami degree.

"When I think about my time at Miami, I remember things like the friends that I made, or walking under the budding trees in the spring, and little details that hit me with the realization that I had the opportunity to grow as a person. I certainly hope that everyone who comes to Miami changes over time and leaves a better individual. I had wonderful experiences, such as leadership in student government, doing physics research as an undergrad in professor of physics Jennifer Blue's lab, and overall a huge amalgamation of moments that I can't even delineate in my head! I'll never have the opportunity to do these things again, but I couldn't have picked a better place than Miami to do them."

Miami and the Liberal Arts

"My education at Miami was a good stepping stone. It's a beautiful place that's a bit isolated from the rest of the world, giving students a great opportunity to dedicate themselves more to their studies. As I mentioned before, I gained problem-solving and critical thinking skills from the liberal arts, along with doing physics research in Dr. Blue's lab. I had the opportunity to embark on a physics education research project with her, which got me more interested in education. When I went to graduate school, I wanted to pursue physics education and had incredible opportunities to learn. It's not where life led me ultimately, but I certainly would not have been in grad school if it hadn't been for the opportunities I had at Miami.

"I started out my physics degree as a Bachelor of Science, but after failing a class on electromagnetic theory, I went to the professor for advice. He suggested that I go for a Bachelor of Arts in physics instead, and I'd never known this was an option! It allowed me to take a broader set of liberal arts courses, some of which were my most memorable classes at Miami, when I was able to pick courses that sounded interesting and weren't just requirements for my major.

"One was an incredible history course about the United States in the 1960s which helped me think with a different perspective about what I wanted to do in my life. I took another fascinating class about the migration of Latin Americans to the U.S. These are the kinds of classes that I still talk about with people on a regular basis. I wouldn't have had the opportunity to discover them without my invaluable liberal arts degree from the College of Arts and Science."

Advice to Students

"Don't ever be afraid to try and fail. It's much better to do something that you realized you didn't like and stop than to stick with something you don't like just to satisfy requirements for a specific major or career. Take that course on modern Chinese literature, and maybe you'll find out that you have a real passion about the repercussions of the Communist uprising. Take advantage of the opportunity to choose a course that you never thought you'd enjoy and learn from someone you may never have the opportunity to learn from again. If you don't like it, you're still in your early 20s — it's fine!

"It may be a cliché, but Miami students have always been told that this is a special place, and it really is. There's a love and pride for Miami that you don't see from many other universities. Our alumni constantly wear Miami t-shirts and hoodies, even down in Atlanta. The love that people have for this place is something special, so if I had any single piece of advice, I would say to make sure that you really embrace your time here and enjoy it."

[March 2020]