Kevin R. Kosar was born in Akron, Ohio in 1970. He attended public schools in nearby Silver Lake and Cuyahoga Falls. After graduating high school, he enrolled at Kent State University for two years, then transferred to the Ohio State University, where he earned his BA from the Honors College, specializing in political philosophy, U.S. constitutional history, and economics.
In 1993, he moved to New York City to attend New York University, receiving University and Lynde and Henry Bradley Foundation fellowships. In 1995, he earned his MA in political philosophy from the Department of Politics. From 1996 through 1997, Kosar worked as a program associate at Chess-In-the-Schools, a New York City not-for-profit corporation that helps children in some of New York City’s lowest performing schools.
He then returned to New York University to undertake doctoral studies in political philosophy, U.S. politics, and international relations. While researching his dissertation, Kosar worked for New York Press newspaper, lectured at the New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and conducted research for the Manhattan Institute and the Hudson Institute. In 1998, he founded Bully Magazine with Ken Wohlrob, and then created his beverage website, AlcoholReviews.com.
In August of 2002, Kosar was hired to serve as a special assistant to the president of Metropolitan College of New York and lectured in its School for Public Affairs and Administration. There he edited Bridging the Gap: Higher Education and Career-Centered Welfare Reform (National Urban League/Metropolitan College of New York, 2003). He completed his dissertation on federal education policy and politics in May of 2003.
Accepted into the Presidential Management Fellows Program, Kosar moved to Washington, D.C. to work as a researcher at the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress (2003-2014). While in Washington, he has served as a peer-reviewer for the U.S. Department of Education’s Teaching American History Grant Program and Presidential Academies for American History and Civics programs. He also has testified before Congress.
In August 2005, his scholarly book, Failing Grades: The Federal Politics of Education Standards (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2005), was published. He followed it with Whiskey: A Global History (Reaktion Books, 2010) and Moonshine: A Global History (Reaktion 2017).
Kosar became the Director of the Governance Project and Senior Fellow at the R Street Institute, a Washington, DC think-tank in October 2014, and was promoted to Vice President of Policy in April 2017.