J. J. Watson-MacKay

Undergraduate Academic Advisor (on leave)
Global Humanities

Areas of interest

Program development and facilitation, social emotional learning, disability justice, library and information studies, archival studies, and Japanese language.


  • BBA, Marketing Management, Kwantlen Polytechnic University


Coming back from 2 months of backpacking around South Africa with a renewed passion to study and speak Japanese, J. J. picked up his Japanese language studies where he left off in high school. Determined to reach a point of conversational fluency to live, work and make friends in Japan, Japanese as a second language became an important key in opening up doors and career options. J. J. started on a year-long Working-holiday visa in Japan, which gave him plenty of time to learn to speak the language, as well as decide on taking a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing Management after he returned home to Canada. Taking all the Japanese language electives he could at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), he went back to Japan for another year to Nagoya as an exchange student, studying at Nagoya Gakuin University.

That experience opened a path of volunteering and working in the field of international education and student affairs, including as a Coordinator for study abroad programs at KPU and student engagement and development at SFU Beedie, as a program assistant in the Centre for Education Excellence, and most recently as an assistant in the SFU Library Student Learning Commons. These were invaluable and compelling opportunities for community capacity building, social–emotional learning, and program facilitation that now inform his approach to academic advising. As a prospective graduate student, he is currently applying to pursue a Dual Master of Archival Studies and Library and Information Studies (MAS/LIS) program. Reflecting on his experience of working in the SFU Library, as well as the central role archiving and resource curation have played in the projects he's been drawn to throughout his career, J. J. now has his sights set on grad school.