How A Student's Impressive Academic Career Landed Him a Position at the FBI

Kent State University Alumnus Kevin Zezlina will become one of the newest members of The Federal Bureau of Investigation after accepting a job offer as an analyst in the Washington, D.C. area.

With his impressive academic career and list of outstanding achievements, this comes as no surprise to those who have worked alongside him.

Upon graduating from Keystone High School in La Grange, Ohio, Mr. Zezlina enrolled at Kent State as a double major in political science and history.

In 2016, he attended the Florence Summer Institute completing coursework and acquiring a deeper knowledge of Italian culture. Interestingly, Mr. Zezlina originally intended to study abroad in Russia but was encouraged to focus his studies in Italy instead.

The experience in Florence was so enriching, Mr. Zezlina chose to attend the program for a second time. However, he did not return as a student and instead was promoted to a faculty position.

Despite two trips to Italy, once as a student and once as a faculty member, Mr. Zezlina’s studying abroad did not stop there. His ambition and thirst for knowledge led him to Kosovo for a two-week study.

During his time in the tiny southeastern European country, Mr. Zezlina met with various leaders and learned about the Killing Fields of Kosovo-- the site of several ethnic cleaning massacres during the late 1990s.

Traveling Across the Globe

Choosing to travel further east in 2017, Mr. Zezlina immersed himself in Asian culture completing two summer courses at Dankook University in South Korea. 

The two courses covered topics centered on world religion, culture and the North and South Korean Demarcation line. Mr. Zezlina says that these courses provided him with a deeper understanding of how the culture operates.

Furthermore, not only did Mr. Zezlina travel beyond the boundaries of his home country, he embarked on a trip to the nation’s capital through the university’s Washington Program in National Issues (WPNI). 

It was during this particular endeavor that he had the opportunity to learn all that goes into creating policy in the United States.

Dedication to Academics

And even when Kevin Zezlina was on a break, he was never really taking time off. 

During his senior year, he traveled to Poland during spring break for a Jewish Studies trip. And the year prior, he used his week-long vacation to travel to India to complete Dr. Uma Krishnan’s India Perspectives course.

With his frequent traveling, one might wonder how Mr. Zezlina completed his course requirements all while squeezing in an internship in government affairs at Lockheed Martin Corporation.

He describes his internship as a valuable experience in which he had the opportunity to network with military personnel and government customers.

Moving Forward and Giving Thanks

There is no doubt that Mr. Zezlina is a hard-working driven young man with enthusiasm for learning. He credits the Honors College for allowing him to explore and excel throughout his education at Kent State.

He says that the academic courses provided him the opportunity to discuss topics freely with other honors students in a small group environment.

“Start asking questions.  Start talking to professors, and visit their office hours,” said Mr. Zezlina. He emphasizes that networking begins with this. And to not to be afraid, as professors are there to help the students.

For his final piece of advice, he suggests that honors students start thinking about their future now, and what they envision for their future.  He says that he often asks himself "What makes me happy to get up everyday?" and "How do I want to change the world?"

Mr. Zezlina urges honors students to challenge themselves and to start setting goals now. 

"You've got to start somewhere," he said. And for him, that somewhere led him across the world and back.

As Mr. Zezlina begins this new chapter in his life as an FBI analyst, the Honors College wishes him the best of luck.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - 4:39pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, June 11, 2019 - 1:05pm
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