By Erica LaBranche, Stonehill College '13
Labeled by the Boston Globe as a "renaissance man," Tyler Hebert is the epitome of the well-rounded student. He is a four-year member of the Stonehill College men's soccer team, currently holds a 3.95 GPA with a major in finance and a minor in political science, and on top of all that, he makes time to write and perform his own music.
Hebert, a Rhodes Scholar candidate this year, has excelled in academics since the beginning of his college career. In 2009, he was a Northeast-10 Academic All-Conference honoree, as well as the male recipient of the Fred C. Petti Scholar-Athlete Award, which is given to the Stonehill student-athlete who has the highest GPA for the given academic year. More recently, Hebert was selected to the ESPN Academic All-District I second team.
Tyler Hebert and Tom Watson, Deputy Chief of Staff for CIPAD (Command and Installation Program Analysis Division), in the Pentagon press room.
"In my opinion, what makes Tyler stand out is his how well rounded he is—he has a fondness for and devotion to intellectual stimulation and challenge, a unique ability to successfully tackle complex issues and problems, a talent and passion for the collaborative and competitive nature of sports, and the creative ability to write, sing, and produce songs and music videos," says Craig Almeida, Stonehill's Dean of Academic Achievement, who worked closely with Hebert throughout the Rhodes Scholarship application process this year. "He is a generous and compassionate individual with a strong moral character that guides all that he does."
To some people, being passionate about so many things might become stressful, but to Hebert it's all about putting each pursuit into perspective. "I put academics first, and then athletics, and then everything else just falls into place," says Hebert. "At the end of the day, it has always paid off."
That mentality has not gone unnoticed. "In addition to his athletic ability, it's Tyler's work ethic and self-discipline to focus on his goals that impress me the most," says Stonehill head men's soccer coach Jim Reddish. "I have never coached a student-athlete with the ability to balance the demands of being a college athlete and still achieve the excellence in the classroom that Tyler has accomplished. His training regimen and academic focus is unmatched, and he still has free time for other interests as well."
From the beginning of Hebert's Stonehill soccer career, he has been a driving force on the team. "Tyler made a tremendous and immediate impact when he arrived on campus for his first preseason," recalls Reddish. "His physical fitness and work ethic far exceeded what our upperclassmen leadership had been exposed to in previous seasons."
Hebert enjoyed every moment of his soccer career, but one of his most memorable moments has been helping the team achieve the goal they have set in each of the last four years, earning Stonehill's first Northeast-10 postseason appearance since 1999. The team finished the regular season with three straight shutouts before falling 2-1 at Southern Connecticut State University in the NE-10 quarterfinals.
Hebert feels that his involvement in college athletics has helped him emphasize the importance of teamwork and hard work. "It's a group of people going after a common goal, which I will see in the business world," he explains. "It taught me to stick with something that is a huge commitment, and to make sure I carry it out from start to finish."
Reddish recognizes his commitment and passion. "His athletic talent combined with his passion to learn, improve, and succeed is special. His potential is unlimited."
One of Hebert's latest achievements outside the classroom and the soccer field was his recent internship with the Pentagon, which he completed while studying at American University in Washington, D.C. He was offered the position after a six-hour interview, and accepted on the spot. His main responsibility while in Washington was to work with generals and other military staff to reconsolidate South Korean military troops into one housing base.
"I had to look at the different courses of action we could take, and use judgment and other tactics to find what was most and least fitting," explains Hebert.
Every day he worked at the Pentagon he was thankful for the wonderful opportunity and learning experience. While there, he was inspired by the work ethic of the military officials, who "were all so hardworking and dedicated," says Hebert. "To them, their job never lost its luster." Their work ethic began to rub off on him throughout the course of the semester, and he describes the semester as a once-in-a-lifetime experience that he feels grateful and fortunate to have had.
When Hebert isn't studying or playing soccer, he finds that music is what helps him relax and keep balanced. "Music is my creative and emotional outlet," he says.
He was around 11 years old when he discovered that hip-hop music blended with his personality, and from that point on, he surrounded himself with it. Hebert was influenced by positive rappers who discussed issues like politics and religion in their music, and allowed him to see music as a type of art that he forms through his words, using both creativity and structure.
To him, writing and performing his music is the most fulfilling experience. "I see myself first as an artist. Hip-hop is just the avenue I use to reach people," says Hebert.
The topics of his songs are wide-ranging and cover different aspects of life, from love to religious beliefs. His inspiration comes from a variety of places, including experiences he's had, or things he has read. Hebert's main goal when writing songs is to create emotion within his audience. "If I can make you feel, I succeed."
So far he has created an album, two mix tapes, and written over 100 songs and often performs on campus at Stonehill coffeehouse events. "I think Stonehill has a good atmosphere for music," says Hebert.
Looking into the future, after graduation in May, Hebert will have to choose from a variety of paths. "I am not planning far ahead," he says, "just hoping to get job offers with mentoring and growth opportunities."
Whether it's in investment, the stock and bond market, or an independent record deal, Tyler Hebert's future is looking very bright.