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Jack of all trades makes the most of Rochester Curriculum

May 9, 2018
CJ Van HubenDuring his time at Rochester, C. J. Van Huben has been involved in Students’ Association government for four years, hosted a radio show on WRUR, was an original member of the University’s She’s the First chapter, and worked three internships. (University of Rochester photo / J. Adam Fenster)

Three questions

Favorite University tradition? “I love that people don’t walk under the clock tower [in Dandelion Square] for fear of not graduating. I don’t know why, but I find it hysterical. Nobody messes with that.”

How will you remember your time here? “I’ll look back on the funny moments I had with roommates and the happy years in student government. The people are what make this place special.”

What advice would you give to incoming students? “Do everything. Be open to everything: classes, clubs, sports, music. Just do it. The worst thing that happens is you stop or someone says no. Don’t be afraid. Go for it.”

Making their mark: This is one in a series of profiles celebrating members of Rochester’s graduating class of 2018.

The chance to attend the University of Rochester was literally music to the ears of C. J. Van Huben ’18.

“I’m really into music, and it was a huge part of my life in high school,” the Poughkeepsie, New York, native says. “I was in every band or orchestra imaginable. Having a chance to take saxophone lessons at the Eastman School of Music was a huge attraction.”

Van Huben had no idea all the opportunities that would follow. During his time at Rochester, he has been involved in Students’ Association government for four years (he served as treasurer this year), hosted a radio show on WRUR, was an original member of the University’s She’s the First chapter, and worked three internships.

Van Huben—the “C. J.” he goes by stands for Christopher James—says the Rochester Curriculum was another huge draw.

“I had a feeling I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn’t want to be put in a box,” the financial economics major says. “The open curriculum was perfect for me, along with the chance to continue playing saxophone.” Van Huben passed his audition at Eastman and took lessons into his senior year.

When he wasn’t in the classroom or studying during his senior year, he was busy in his role as SA treasurer, where his main charge was dividing $1.5 million among 200-plus student organizations.

Van Huben’s first internship was at BASF, the world’s largest chemical producer, at their North American headquarters in Florham Park, New Jersey. He worked as a financial analyst there during the summer after his sophomore year. During the spring semester of his junior year, he headed to Los Angeles for an internship with the purchasing team at aerospace manufacturer SpaceX. He was present during four rocket launches. “It was a pretty cool ride,” he says. “Rockets everywhere. Rocket parts everywhere.”

He flew from Los Angeles to New York, where he spent last summer as an intern for Ernst & Young. He was so impressive that the firm offered him a full-time job starting August 10, working as a business consultant.

Associate dean of students Anne-Marie Algier says Van Huben’s compassion and work ethic are what made him stand out.

“What I love about C. J. is he truly cares about his fellow students and makes the most positive impact on campus life,” Algier says. “He has been unafraid to take on the tough problems and come up with fair and consistent solutions, and he’ll willingly meet any hour of the day or night to address those concerns. I’ll truly miss him.”

Van Huben will miss being part of the community but is ready to start his career.

“My ultimate career goal is doing something that means something,” he says. “I need my work to impact people. It’s a standard you get used to here at the University: nobody does something for no reason.”

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Category: Student Life

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