Daniel Guy Fowlkes, B.A. 2000

DevOps Engineer/Developer, Remote

B.A., Cultural Anthropology and Computer Science (2000)

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

"There was a brief window, right after I graduated, where some guy made a killing in the stock market and, when interviewed, attributed his success to his Cultural Anthropology degree enabling him to do an ethnographic study of Wall Street and essentially "read the room" to determine which way stocks were going to go. For that period, having both the Cultural Anthropology degree and the Computer Science background made me a double threat, and highly in-demand, for automated trading systems. Wall Street moved on to the next shiny thing fairly quickly, though, which is probably best for my blood pressure and soul. My education in Cultural Anthropology has shaped how I see the world and how I approach groups in my personal and professional life -- to say nothing of the various anecdotes and linguistic party tricks that it's given me to deploy in social situations. I think that I have a better appreciation of cultural differences and am open to a wider array of approaches than I would otherwise have been. Lastly, I have found that having a Cultural Anthropology major on my resume makes a great talking point in interviews; interviewers frequently ask about it."

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

"I would encourage current students in the Cultural Anthropology program to enjoy it to the fullest. It is a discipline with fuzzy boundaries, allowing you to shape your course of studies within it to explore those things that you find most interesting. No assignment in a Cultural Anthropology course should ever bore you or be a slog to get through, there's always an angle of approach to make it interesting to yourself -- which in turn will make it more interesting to your reader."

Daniel Guy Fowlkes