Madan Kandula, B.A. 1993


1993 Major: Biological Anthropology & Anatomy (now Evolutionary Anthropology), Cultural Anthropology, and Religion

How has being an Evolutionary Anthropology graduate from Duke helped shape you personally and/or professionally?

"I'm so old that, when I started at Duke, Anthropology was still a single major. During my undergraduate career, the department split into the cultural and biological sides. I ended up pursuing both majors separately in addition to my Religion major. Holistically, anthropology has had a profound impact on my life and career. After Duke, I went to medical school and chose Otolaryngology as a specialty. After completing my medical training, I started my own private medical practice. Over time, that practice has grown from a single office in Wisconsin to thirteen locations in four states (and growing). How has anthropology impacted all of the above? A: In angles too numerous to count. On the evolutionary biology side, the primary focus of my medical practice is treating the nose and throat conditions that have evolved over time in our species. For a variety of reasons, our jaws are shrinking. This phenomenon has caused most human children and adults to have noses, sinuses, and throats that are too small for their bodies. The resultant issues (snoring, sleep apnea, nasal obstruction, etc) are myriad. I have devoted my medical career to reversing these evolutionary forces through procedures and devices. On the cultural front (which is superfluous here), my practice is now a company with over 250 employees. One of the most precious aspects of our company is our culture. The lessons that I learned in cultural anthropology and religion have been foundational to my ability to create and understand the profound impact of culture on individuals and organizations."

What advice would you give students in Duke's Evolutionary Anthropology programs? 

"As you pursue your studies, find ways that you can connect what you learn to people who need that understanding today. If your focus and work are purely scholarly, your impact and reach will be limited. If you create within yourself the ability to make your knowledge actionable, you have the potential to change the world."


Madan Kandula