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Armonaitis, Keith

Keith Armonaitis
Major: Theater Arts
Minor: N/A
Year of Graduation: 1996
Current Location (city): Rockaway
Current Occupation: IT Innovation Lab Lead, Screenwriter, Filmmaker
Company Name: Port Authority of NY / NJ
LinkedIn account: https://www.linkedin.com/in/keitharmonaitis/
Why did you choose your major/minor, and what did you like most about it?: I wanted to be an Actor! I was going to be the next DeNiro/Hoffman/Pacino and I was going to be celebrated on stage and screen. I auditioned and was accepted into Mason Gross for their BFA acting program which I attended for the first year. By the end of that year I was miserable and had an ulcer, so I left the program. I went into Economics for another year until I came to my senses and went back to Acting this time as a BA. I left school in my Junior year to work for my first start up and wound up finishing my degree part time over the next few years.
Tell us about your journey since graduation and the ways that your experiences at Rutgers and SAS (major/minor, classes, professors, clubs, etc.) have contributed to your successes.: To look at my journey, one would think that I was a drunk stumbling through the world. Truth be told, I tried very hard to please so many other people, my parents, friends, significant others- that it wasn't until I learned to follow my passions the I was able to get onto a track that has become my life. I have been an actor, stand up comic, computer programmer, screenwriter, filmmaker and IT Executive. I have had several start up companies, three of which I founded, several others I did not. I have managed to not get rich in all of that time, but I have done well enough that I would consider myself a success. I found that the creative side of me was missing for a very long time, and so I started writing screenplays about twenty years ago, and I now have three films that have been produced.
What advice do you have for our current Arts and Sciences students?: That the only people who should be asked "What are you going to do with the rest of your life?" should be people who are retiring. Don't put so much pressure on yourself to find "your calling" right now. Find a passion that speaks to you and seek out opportunities to follow it. Also- be forgiving. Of others, but especially yourself. Almost every overnight success is someone who kept going for years before they were discovered.
Do you have any exciting news to share?: Currently the head of the IT Innovation Lab at the Port Authority of NY / NJ. If you ever wanted to see where the Arts and Sciences collide it would be there. I'm helping make the world better for millions of people a year - even now by providing good information for traveling during the time of COVID-19. On the writing front- finishing the draft for a TV series to hopefully get it made. Stay tuned.