Jonathan McCabe: Associate Director, Curriculum


1. Do you have any hobbies or secret talents? Is there something you consider yourself to be very good at?

I enjoy writing, and I sometimes teach creative nonfiction classes at an adult learning annex near my home.  I’m also kind of a nerd when it comes to TV trivia.  I know a lot about old shows and actors.  Not sure if I’m exactly proud of that, though…

2. What do you do like to do on the weekends or in free time? 

I do a lot of camping, both in and outside of PA.  My husband and I also live very close to the Wissahickon, and he and I often explore the park on weekends.  IPA’s and porters with friends also help pass the time.  

3. Have you traveled to somewhere you’ve really enjoyed? Or do you have a favorite city/country/tourist spot?

A few years ago I went to Yosemite National park, and I’m looking forward to a return trip to Sequoia.  National parks in California seem to be some of my favorite places on Earth. 

4. Do you have any pets? Tell me about them! If you don’t have a pet, would you want one, and what kind?

I have three box turtles, who have been with me for almost 20 years.  I call them Wick, Debvo, and Doris.  They sleep a lot and occasionally eat.  I am immensely jealous. 

5. Do you enjoy playing any sports? Do you follow any sports or specific teams? 

I’m not a huge sports fan.  I like watching rugby and baseball, but I don’t follow either.  I used to fence, but that was a long time ago. 

6. What is your favorite type of food or restaurant? Do you like to cook, and do you have a signature dish? 

I love Indian food, although my attempts to make it have turned out less than stellar.  I can make a mean batch of pumpkin soup, though, from scratch, and some really good vegan carrot stew.

7. Do you have a favorite book or movie, and why do you like it? 

This is a hard one.  I feel like my favorite movie changes all the time.  I was a film major, so I’ve gone through phases of loving certain movies more than anything else, then forgetting about them.  I always come back to Harold and Maude, Mulholland Drive, and Dirty Dancing, among others.  Having said that, I’ve probably seen just about every horror film you could name.  Some of my favorite books are Geek LoveMiddlesexBelovedHousekeepingOther Voices Other Rooms, Travels with Charley, and Charlotte’s Web.

8. If you had to be a Penn med student, how do you think you would survive? 

I would try to create a social network.  In person, not virtual.  Many of the components of the curriculum are team based, and I think surviving the density of work requires team support.  So I would rely on my friends.  I would also organize karaoke nights in the ping-pong room.

9. Is there anything you would want to say to Penn med students? 

I would like to thank you for your smiles when I collect the sign in sheets in the morning, and for waving at me through my window.  Thank you for SPOOFing me and making me look good at the same time, and thank you for reminding me, every day, why I actually do love my job.  Thanks for all the awesome medical care you are going to give me when you are older, and thank you for letting me wear your leftover retreat t-shirts to Pottruck. 

10. Anything else you’d like to include about yourself!

Just advice: remember to wear sunscreen every day.  I’m very happy to report that the skin cancer on my nose is now gone, but I still get screened every year.  Best to avoid it, folks, make friends with SPF.