Spring Xia '24 and Jeff Brover '24 earn the 2024 Jesse Tsu Award

2024 Jesse Tsu Award recipients
2024 Jesse Tsu Award Recipients
Spring Xia '24 and Jeff Brover '24

Spring Xia '24 and Jeff Brover '24 are the 2024 co-recipients of the Jesse Tsu Sport Management Academic Achievement Award which is presented annually to the graduating senior(s) with the highest cumulative grade point average in Rice University's Department of Sport Management. Named after Jesse Tsu '11, who posted the highest-ever GPA among Sport Management majors, this award symbolizes the exceptional academic experience provided by Rice's top-ranked program.

“This award does mean a lot to me as it feels like a successful culmination of my four years of study at this university,” said Brover. “To me, this award is a realization of a lot of hard work and some late nights that I did my best to balance with extracurricular activities and friendships.”

“I’m super honored to receive this award - it is a recognition of the work I’ve put into my degree the past four years,” Xia said. “It also proves to me that I can do anything if I put my mind to it and a lot of effort.”

Not only were both students able to maintain excellent academic standing but they were able to do so while gaining valuable experiences in their respective fields.

Brover double-majored in Sport Analytics and Statistics, while gaining internship experience with the Tampa Bay Rays, Normal CornBelters, Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, Rice Baseball Analytics, and Rice's Men’s Basketball program earning skills in both analytics and operations.

“It is still important to find a balance of knowing when to focus on these extracurriculars and when to focus on the classroom with tests, projects, papers, or whatever else.” Brover said. “Take advantage of every opportunity you can and never be afraid to ask for help in finding them.”

Xia double-majored in Sport Management (Sport Law concentration) and Political Science. She completed internships with the Texas Center for Justice and Equity, The Legal Aid Society, Court of Appeals for the First District of Texas, Hylands Law Firm, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and more.

“During my time with Rice SMGT, I took part in both part-time internships during the school semester, and full-time summer internships,” Xia said. “These experiences allowed me to develop tangible skills from how to navigate professional relationships, build a sustainable work-life balance, to small things like how to communicate professionally with your supervisor at work.”

Earning these awards required focus, dedication to coursework, and genuine care for the classes taken. Despite efforts to achieve work-life balance, particularly as upperclassmen, both recipients recognized that education remained at their foremost priority.

"Spring and Jeff have shown that Rice students can succeed academically at an elite level while also gaining an impressive amount of valuable, practical experience," Clark Haptonstall, Chair of the Department of Sport Management said. "Both students are also great people and I have no doubt that their professional careers are going to be very successful."

After graduation, Brover will return to his home state of Florida to work for the Tampa Bay Rays in their Research & Development department. Xia is joining Teach for America for two years before attending Law School.

Sergio Rojas, a sophomore from Houston, Texas, is double-majoring in Business with a concentration in Finance and also Sport Management with a concentration in Leadership.