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History grad ‘tumbles’ her way into a future in athletics

Sydney Tepper standing in front of a tunnel opening with one hand on her hip.

Photo of Sydney Tepper

December 06, 2023

Sydney Tepper knew from a young age that she would like to be a teacher, so when she was accepted into ASU to work toward a bachelor’s degree in history with a minor in education, she believed her path was set. 

“When I was in the seventh grade, I was absolutely fascinated with the way my ancient civilizations teacher, Mr. Munson, taught history,” she said. “From that point on, I was set on being a history teacher.” 

Tepper, a New American University Scholarship recipient, is graduating three semesters early, saying she learned to advocate for herself early on in her academic journey. That self-advocacy and self-awareness, along with her humanities degree, opened up a new pathway she didn’t realize could be a viable career for her: athletics. 

“I played tennis, basketball, softball, danced, cheerleading and even flag football for a second. … I realized I had a bigger passion for sports than I do teaching,” she said. 

Tepper also discovered a new sport to get involved in, which fostered a sense of belonging while she studied at ASU.

“This season is my third year on the ASU Stunt Devils. … We have hosted a tournament (at ASU) the last couple of years, but we also travel to compete against other universities.” 

A rapidly growing sport among women, STUNT is akin to cheerleading and currently has five competitive categories: Divisions I, II, III, NAIA and club. The ASU Stunt Devils placed fifth in the club division last year, according to the sport’s website, and states that the sport is seeking approval from the NCAA to approve DIII in 2024 after approving DI and DII this year. 

“My time on STUNT has made my experience at ASU a million times better than it would’ve been without the team. It’s an important part of my college experience,” Tepper said.  

This January, she will begin her Master in Legal Studies with a concentration in sports law and business at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. 

“After that, I plan on working in collegiate or professional sports as a development manager or athletic director,” Tepper said. “I still would love to be a teacher, but later in life.”

Group of STUNT performers.
Sydney Tepper (bottom, right, #00) performing in ASU Stunt Devils. Courtesy photo


Here are a few additional highlights from our Q&A with her:

Question: Why did you choose ASU?  

Answer: I chose ASU for the big campus life and the beautiful weather. I wanted to be absorbed into college life, and that’s exactly what ASU gets you. The Cali girl inside of me loves the sunshine, so there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to come back to a sunny place. 

Q. Which professor taught you one of the most important lessons you've learned at ASU? What was the lesson? 

A. I would have to go with Professor Lauren Harris. Professor Harris was my professor for HST 480: Methods of Teaching History. She taught me to always trust my creative side and let my knowledge of the subject area do its thing. She was very insightful to have as a professor, and I wish I could’ve taken more classes with her. 

Q. What's the best piece of advice you'd give to other students?  

A. The best piece of advice I could give to other students would be to get involved on campus with clubs. I originally wasn’t going to try out for (Stunt Devils), but my roommate at the time convinced me to come with her to Passport to ASU. Joining Stunt Devils was one of the best decisions of my life and I’m grateful for the friends and lessons it brought me. 

Q. What is your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or otherwise? Tell us about a place on campus that is special to you.  

A. My favorite place to study on campus is the terrace of the Student Services Building or the downstairs patio of Hayden Library by the Life Sciences Tower. I love sitting outside on a cool day and getting my work done. 

Q. If someone gave you $40 billion to solve one problem on our planet, what would you do?

A. I would use the $40 billion to create more affordable housing and shelters in the most impoverished cities worldwide.

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