Diversity Spotlight: Devin McClenton

February 19, 2021

Photo of Devin McClenton


Name: Devin McClenton
Graduated: 2017
Degree: Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice
Hometown: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Current Location: Oakland, California


What inspired you to go into Criminal Justice as a career field?

My mom is in the field, she works in the courts. When I was graduating high school, I was the typical student that didn’t know what they wanted to do. My mom recommended I go to Community College first while I was trying to figure it out. I started with some Criminal Justice classes and just fell in love with it, all the classes really interested me. I think my mom really paved the way for me a little bit even though we work in completely different areas of the Criminal Justice field.


What brought you out to the Bay Area?

In 2016, I knew it was time to look at internships and get that experience under my belt. Tim Homberg sent me an internship opportunity at Dolby to apply for as part of their IP enforcement team in San Francisco. Fortunately, I got that internship, and I think they liked me because they asked me to come back in 2017 as an intern which led to me joining their team full time. After working for Dolby for roughly three years, I then joined Facebook in June 2020 as part of their IP Escalation team.


When did you realize you wanted to work in the Intellectual Property (IP) Protection field?

It was in CJ 294. That class really opened my eyes because it taught you what you needed to do to succeed in the Criminal Justice field and all the career types that fall under the Criminal Justice umbrella.


What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I have really gotten into hiking since living out in the Bay Area. There are tons of hiking trails and Yosemite isn’t very far away. I also really enjoy traveling and working at Dolby really afforded me the opportunity to travel internationally for work.


How do you feel the School of Criminal Justice has helped you in your career?

The School of Criminal Justice was amazing. It was such a genuine experience. Every time I had a meeting with my advisors, they gave me real advice and really made sure I was staying on the ball and working to reach my goals. They really, genuinely, wanted me to succeed in my career – not just graduate – but to be successful throughout my life. Tim Homberg has an email list full of alumni that he sends job listings to – the School really does care about its alumni.


Why is diversity important to you?

When you have enough people, who are from different backgrounds, you will get real answers from everyone. If everyone is from the same background, you will get the same answers. I have learned that a lot in my career and learned that I need to open my ears. Everyone has their own background; everyone has their own opinions. It is easy to silo yourself off and not think about that, but when you have that diverse group of people around you there are a lot of opportunities to learn. You can always learn something from someone.


What does Black History Month mean to you?

Not only is it great to look back at the past, but also experiencing the current and looking to the future. A lot of times when we think of Black History Month we think of the past and we look to the past, but I think it would be good to also look at what is happening right now to really set a pathway for the upcoming year.


What is it like being a Black man in the Criminal Justice field this last year?

It has been tough. I have friends who went into Policing and they are amazing people, and it is tough – especially when things were really heated over the Summer – there were a lot of things said about police officers in general that I didn’t always agree with. Being a black man, people often assume that I am going to fall on one side of things and that just isn’t true. I am looking at this from different lenses. On one hand, yes there are things that we need to fix, but we can’t look at this only from one lens and label an entire group of people. There are a lot of police who genuinely want to help people. The media did a good job of really making it seem like it was one group against another which shouldn’t have been the case. It should have been these two groups working together to really collaborate to better our communities. I am hopeful that this will be a topic where we can look at how we can work together in this year.


What are you hopeful for in 2021?

Aside from the obvious hope that COVID goes away, I hope that the events that took place last year won’t be simply swept under the rug. I really do hope that this woke people up and that we begin to work together. I hope that we stop looking at each other as enemies and sweeping things under the rug and start respecting each other to the point where we can have these discussions whether we agree or disagree. 2020 had a lot of unknowns and I am truly hopeful for 2021.


What is something you wish more people understood about Black Culture?

I think that the culture is based on the specific background you grew up in. A lot of my friends come from completely different backgrounds. It is a testament to, yes there is a Black Culture, but there are also sub-cultures that are created by your family and community. Black Culture is more so understanding that there are bits and pieces of the culture that make up the Culture, not simply one thing.


What advice do you have for current and future students?

I think a lot of students, especially students of color, may be questioning whether to even go into the field of Criminal Justice. I would say that the students should do what they truly want to do. If you want to go into policing because you really want to help people and you’re passionate about it, then that is what you should do. It will be tough, and it will be a long road ahead, but if you are true to what you want to accomplish then I say go for it.

I never pictured myself in the tech field and tech culture, but I took a leap of faith and moved out here and hoped it worked out. If you put the dedication into what you’re passionate about, then things will work out for you and you should take even the smallest accomplishments as a step forward.