Danielle S. Tepper

Danielle Tepper, Photographer and Reporter.

Fun Facts

Trick question—they’re all TRUE!

I almost drowned in a class V rapid.

In this photo, you’ll find my face
between the second ‘a’ and ‘l.’

I had my first near-death experience in college—with no help from a liquor bottle, might I add. As a member of LHU’s Outing Club, I was plummeting down a class V rapid on the Gauley River in West Virginia in 2008 when our raft hit a huge boulder. We were all tossed into the violently churning water and I wasn’t able to break through the surface until the rapid dissipated and the water calmed down. It was terrifying, but an incredible adrenaline rush. (We capsized twice more on that trip!)

I met my first celebrity in fourth grade.

In the year 1997 BE (Before Ellen), I was ecstatic to find out that I’d be seeing my then-favorite talk show host in person. I went to New York with my mom, we were rushed to the front of the audience when two empty seats opened up in the first row, and I sat just feet away from Rosie O'Donnell herself. The guests were Bob Denver (Gilligan!) and Kate Winslet (fresh-faced and doing press for Titanic), with a musical performance by Harry Connick Jr. When the show ended, Rosie shot a koosh ball right at me. I was on TV! And later, I got to have her sign my Kids Are Punny book and snap a quick picture.

I chose my path in life at eight years old.

Or, rather, it chose me. An early love of reading segued easily into a passion for writing. I was a natural storyteller, crafting poems and short stories as soon as I learned how to put pen to paper to create my own words. I relished the idea of seeing my name in print, even at the smallest scales available to me in elementary school. I began building a full manuscript at age 10 ... I was published for the first time in our local newspaper at 14 ... and in my sophomore year, I took my high school’s first attempt at an “Introduction to Journalism” class that changed the entire trajectory of the future I envisioned for myself. I vowed to someday build a career to be proud of, a career in which I would use my words to try to impact the lives of others. I’ve never stopped fighting for that dream.