Kalonji is interested in how human beings learn and develop cultural beliefs and attitudes. He completed his undergraduate degree in Human Biology at Stanford University where he focused his studies on the biological and evolutionary origins of cultural variation. In other words, he studied how our cultural behavior (belief, ritual, and morality) is a byproduct of the ways our brains and bodies have been shaped by evolution. Upon graduation from Stanford he moved to the other side of the 101 Freeway to the vibrant neighborhood of East Palo Alto, CA. There he worked as a community organizer for three years learning about how culture is learned and transmitted on the community level. While working in EPA he collaborated with a group of neighborhood youth and community leaders to design a number of dynamic urban rituals, each with the goal of creating community solidarity. The objective of his work is to use what we know about the evolution of culture to guide the practice of educators and to design curriculum that explicitly engages students in understanding the cultural dimension of knowledge and learning.
Kalonji is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Learning Sciences at Northwestern University.