Kowalski is the group strategist and gadgeteer. He is the brains of the group or known as, "the Options Guy", and is sometimes even arrogant or boastful about his intelligence. In fact he can be such a show-off that Skipper has created the 'Show-Off Jar', which Kowalski must put a quarter into every time he shows off his intellect unnecessarily. He prefers intellect over brute force. While certainly the most "book-smart" of the zoo animals, his tendency to over-analyze situations affects how intelligent he appears to the others. He can describe emotions in deep words, but he did admit in Monkey Love that he has trouble comprehending love and expressing his feeling to another, which Skipper knew already. Another example that shows this was in the episode All Choked Up when Skipper, Kowalski, and Private thought Rico was going to be blown up, and he states "I, also, love... you... in the same... way expressed previously... dude."

Kowalski's main disadvantage is that sometimes he over-analyses things, extensive reasoning getting in the way of acting. Also he can become too fascinated by science; in the episode Jiggles he becomes almost stark raving mad at the other penguins for not accepting his latest scientific breakthrough/abomination of nature. It was only when Jiggles tried to eat him that it became a problem.

Kowalski, as a man of science, doesn't believe in magic or King Julien's sky spirits. However he has witnessed the supernatural and, while he attempts to find a scientific explanation, he doesn't always succeed, such as in Out of the Groove when King Julien has his Groove removed.

Kowalski uses many memes popularized by the internet such as "Wehehehel, fail-ail!" (Night and Dazed), "For the win!" (Invention Intervention), and "Holla!" (Friend-in-a-Box). However due to his nerdiness, all his attempts to be cool sound rather forced. He also tends to use long words. The others are not always able to understand what he is saying, and sometimes ask him to repeat what he's saying in simple terms.Ranked as Second-In-Command as Skipper's Lieutenant, Kowalski is the tallest of the penguins, as well as the smartest. Kowalski forms plans for the group and usually takes notes for Skipper. His knowledge has allowed him to take up positions where his intelligence is needed, such as being the team's medic as well as chief scientist and inventor. He tends to over-analyze situations unnecessarily.

Kowalski comes up with some ridiculously long plans and analysis when he gets carried away. He can act like a little boy sometimes, especially when he gets excited about... SCIENCE!!!!!

He's part of a cadre of devious penguins who had made it their goal to escape captivity in the Central Park Zoo and leave for Antarctica. Often formulating plans for the group, Kowalski was a loyal supporter of his leader, Skipper. Kowalski had escaped the zoo with the other penguins, but was promptly captured and put into a crate for transferring with his comrades. The crates were all placed on a ship bound for Africa, where all the creatures from the zoo would be kept in a wildlife preserve. While in the crate, Kowalski confessed that he could not read (he said the words on the side of the box were an "older code", in slight reference to Star Wars VI) and asked another transferee, a chimpanzee named Phil, to read the words on the crate. As soon as this was done, the four penguins headed to the ship's bridge, knocked out the crew and captain, bound them up, and Kowalski plotted the ship's course to Antarctica.

They later found Antarctica too disappointing, and plotted a course for Florida. The ship ran out of fuel and they docked in Madagascar. Kowalski helped navigate the ship and later helped Gloria and Melman rescue Marty from the fossa. Kowalski simply smiled and waved after Private asked if they should tell them the ship's out of fuel.

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