Long before Rushi Kota ’09, rose to fame in Hollywood with roles on popular shows like "Never Have I Ever," "Grey’s Anatomy," "iCarly," and "Ordinary Joe," he was pursuing his first passion at Farmingdale State College: Automotive Engineering Technology.
Dreaming of a life as a Formula 1 racer, Kota enrolled at Farmingdale for a comprehensive education, one that combined the logistics of automotive repair with the business of the automotive industry. In the end, despite the wealth of knowledge he gained through practical and classroom experience, Kota realized his Formula 1 dreams were a stretch. Instead, he found new opportunities to thrive at FSC.
“I embraced everything about life at FSC—I became a Resident Advisor and took on a new role as a liaison for the school’s large community of international students,” he says. “I made the Dean’s List and President’s List, and really committed myself to learning as much as possible during my four years.”
Kota immersed himself in student life, something that served him well as he discovered his new passion for acting and performing after graduation. “Having a completely different background from the traditional theatre major has turned out to be a great thing because I’m coming from a different place, and bringing with me a different perspective,” said Kota “For me, all my experiences at FSC fed my creativity and have allowed me to live a fuller life as an actor.”
FSC's keynote Commencement speaker in Spring 2022, Kota told graduates there is nothing wrong with taking time to find their way. “…It’s okay to be lost and not know all the answers,” he said. “Because when you get lost, you start asking the right questions and that’s when you start finding your path forward.”
Although his Formula 1 dreams never came to fruition, there is no arguing that Kota has found tremendous success in his work today, a product of the foundation he built at FSC. Kota said the clubs, activities, and leadership roles he held all shaped his college experience, and ultimately, his future.
“Before Farmingdale, I had no idea how many opportunities were out there – it’s not just accounting or law or medicine, there are so many different careers and ways to explore your interests and really immerse yourself in your interests,” he said.
As Kota looks ahead, he can appreciate this success even more, thanks to the lessons he learned as a FSC student.
“As young adults, we have a certain plan and we don’t know how to deal with things if it doesn’t go according to plan,” he said. “At Farmingdale I learned that if you open yourself up to new opportunities, there’s no telling where you’ll end up.”