Image of Dr. Allysia Kizzee against a background white background with logos on it
Dr. Allysia Kizzee. Credit: Jodie B. Jiles

From topics covering “Government, Legal and Business Aspects of eSports” to “Why Diversity is Needed in eSports,” Dr. David C. Hughes and Rice University’s Allysia Kizzee teamed up and brought the Pathways in eSports Conference to The Ion near downtown Houston.

At the conference, students from Prairie View A&M University, the Little Stem Academy and the general public received jewels of wisdom on various topics about eSports.

Young students from Little Stem Academy smile
Students from Little Stem Academy. Credit: Jodie B. Jiles

Ian Newton, a mechanical engineering major from PVAMU, originally started getting into fighting games like Super Smash Bros. at a young age. Eventually, that hobby flipped into a real passion. After Newton was asked why he came to the PIE Conference, Newton replied, “I want to see if I can turn my degree into something I am really interested in, and make that a hobby of mine. Outside of that, I am just here to learn and meet new people.”

In the “Government, Legal and Business Aspects of eSports” panel entertainment lawyer Ricky Anderson spoke from the legal side of eSports, explaining the importance of trademarks.

“As far as your brand and everything outside of the game, you’ve got to trademark everything; your name, your eSports team name, everything,” Anderson said.

Other distinguished guests included Isaiah Reese, founder of Blaze Fire Games; Lori Burgess, chief operating officer of the Houston Outlaws; Tray Thompson, manager of social responsibility for the Dallas Mavericks; Ed Tomasi, co-founder at Subnation; L.J. Henderson, Little Stem Academy founder; James King, Game Truck owner and many more industry influencers.

“Today our purpose is to promote diversity in eSports and the gaming industry,” said Rice University Director of Facilities and event co-host Allysia Kizzee, when asked about the goals for the PIE Conference.

Pathways in eSports marquee
Pathways in eSports marquee Credit: Jodie B. Jiles

“We understand that it is a multi-billion-dollar industry and it lacks diversity. So, we are trying to open up the pathways and show different ways how to get involved,” Kizzee continued.

Hughes, the executive director of Pathways In eSports Conference, made his mark in higher education by helping institutions like Hampton University secure a $400,000 grant to start the first eSports initiative at an HBCU. He also consults for Verizon Wireless eSports Education Initiative with Games 4 Change and remains a co-chair of the Education Committee with the Atlanta NAACP Chapter.

To learn how you can get involved with the Pathways In eSports movement contact Allysia Kizzee at

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Jodie B. JilesAccount executive

I love sports and have been with the Defender since birth. I joined the staff as a videographer and accepted the responsibility of doing high school sports and never looked back. FUN FACT: I am trying...