College of Liberal and Fine Arts


UTSA COLFA Classroom to Career Lecture Series: Douglas Maclean, JD

November 8, 2022

“How a liberal and fine arts degree (or any major) can lead to successful career options and strategies”

- Mimi Yu, Associate Professor of Practice, Japanese Program, MLL


Douglas MacLean, JD, spoke to UTSA students via Zoom on how a liberal and fine arts Degree (or any major) can lead to successful career options on November 3, 2022. It was attended by a live audience of 50 guests and another 15 or so online, mostly Japanese language program students and the MLL faculty. The event was sponsored by the COLFA Student Success Center.

MacLean was a first-gen college student of his family, the son of a cleaner, who helped with his father’s cleaning business at the age of seven or eight. He majored in English and minored in Japanese and Math. After graduating from college in 2002, he taught English in Japan in the JET Program as an assistant language teacher. While there, he observed human trafficking and migrant workers’ working condition in Japan. 

After his three-year stint in Japan, MacLean worked in the government sector and other NGOs to fight human trafficking. He received his Law degree from Georgetown University, was a Fulbright legal scholar at the University of Tokyo, and founded Justice Without Borders (JWB) in 2013. He is also the executive director of JWB.

At his lecture, MacLean encourages students to take part in internship opportunities to donate their time and expertise while expanding their work experience and engaging in networking proactively to meet various people. He also shared his strategies and explained how to approach others for more potential networking opportunities. “Expect the unexpected and have backup options while creating new ones,” said MacLean. 

MacLean also touched on the NGOs and its business side which is very much like any other sector. He encourages the student audience to find something that speaks to them. In addition, MacLean mentioned one’s career may not be a straight line. 

At the Q&A session, MacLean answered questions on how to apply for a Fulbright grant, human trafficking, JET Program, continuing to network with people he has met over the years, working overseas, internship opportunities (overseas), and doing research. 

Justice without Borders is headquartered in Singapore and has branch offices in various countries. MacLean speaks Japanese and Mandarin Chinese.

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