Launch into Leadership

Top student-athletes, Rhett Harper and Kylie Ruffule, both have an above 4.0 overall GPA.

Rhett Harper proves that students can excel in an athlete as well as a top scholar. Photo by Julian Pineda | The Signal

It is rather captivating to watch student-athletes excel at a dynamic level in their respective sports, but it is even more fascinating when they prove to be a dual-threat — exceeding expectations in the classroom as well.

During halftime of the Georgia State men’s basketball game, when they squared off against Louisiana-Monroe on Feb. 10, several student-athletes at the university were recognized for their astounding GPAs.

Rhett Harper, senior pitcher for the baseball team, had an overall GPA of 4.15. Kylie Ruffule, who is now a graduate, played for the women’s soccer team and had an overall GPA of 4.24.

Harper and Ruffule spoke with The Signal about their accomplishments of being top scholar-athletes.

Rhett Harper

The Signal: Explain the challenges of being a top scholar, as well as being an athlete?

Harper: The hardest thing for me was just time management and trying to get in studying with classes, practice, workouts and all of that. I think that’s the hardest part for me. Being able to manage my time and make sure I get enough studying to go into class ready and be prepared for my tests and exams.

The Signal: What are some techniques you have regarding time management?

Harper: I like to have a planner and just write down what I need to do for that day or that time. And then after class, I just try to re-think what I did that day and then move on to the next day and what I need to prepare for, for class the next day.

The Signal: What career field do you plan on pursuing if being an athlete doesn’t pan out for you?

Harper: I’m looking into a year in the [business] accounting field or the finance field, but I haven’t specified yet. But I’m a double-major in finance and accounting.

The Signal: What has been your most significant accomplishment as a scholar?

Harper: I think the biggest accomplishment was maintaining a 4.0. This will be my eighth semester here at Georgia State, and having above a 4.0 is a big accomplishment.\

The Signal: What motivates you to be the best student-athlete that you can possibly be?

Harper: I think it goes along with the coaches pushing you to be a student first because they’re here to make sure you get your degree. And just make sure you have a life past sports. And along with that goes my parents. They’ve always pushed me since I was little to get good grades, so I think that’s the most important thing.

Kylie Ruffule

The Signal: Explain the challenges of being a top scholar, as well as being an athlete?

Ruffule: Just making sure you have the time to do everything you need to do to be successful in all aspects.

The Signal: What career field do you plan on pursuing if being an athlete doesn’t pan out for you?

Ruffule: I’m a criminal justice major, and I plan on being a federal agent when I enter the workforce.

The Signal: What has been your most significant accomplishment as a scholar-athlete?

Ruffule: This has been an honor having one of the highest GPAs in all of athletics, and I just got the Department of Criminal Justice award for having the highest GPA in my major as well.

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