Jim was born outside of Buffalo, NY and grew up in the Philadelphia, PA suburbs. After graduating from La Salle College High School in Wyndmoor, PA, he pursued a Bachelor's of Science in chemistry at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. While at Lehigh, Jim began undergraduate research in the laboratory of Professor Robert Flowers. He remained at Lehigh for graduate research in the Flowers Lab. The focus of his doctoral research was the development and optimization of Ce(IV)-mediated single electron oxidative coupling reactions, studying the mechanisms of the oxidation of enols and organo-SOMO activation. After earning his doctorate, Jim joined the laboratory of Professor Corey Stephenson at Boston University. He then moved with Professor Stephenson to the University of Michigan, where he studied the deactivation of photoredox catalysts via ligand functionalization and developed a visible-light-mediated method for the hydrodebromination of alkyl and aryl bromides. In July 2015, Jim joined the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at Loyola University Chicago as an Assistant Professor.