WSU graduate ‘shines’ academically, outside of class

Student involved in BSU, Delta Sigma Theta, Honors College; future plans for law school



Sparkle Watts recently graduated from WSU. She will take a gap year then pursue law school.

EMMA LEDBETTER, Evergreen reporter

WSU graduate Sparkle Watts has a fitting name for her personality, said Donna Arnold, associate director of Multicultural Student Services. 

“When she comes into a room, she really just shines,” Arnold said. “She has this charisma working and talking with people.”

Watts graduated this spring — a year early — with a major in philosophy and minor in Spanish. She said she plans to take a gap year in which she hopes to get an internship in the law field before starting law school in fall 2021. 

Watts said she has a passion for justice and fighting to make sure people receive what they deserve, which was part of why she decided to go to law school. However, she was a pre-medicine student when she started at WSU. 

“I knew I wanted to be a surgeon and my life plan was kind of written out,” Watts said. “Then when I was in between my freshman and sophomore year of college, I started to question that a little bit for the first time in my life … that was difficult for me to do.”

WSU was her first-choice school, she said, partly because she wanted to leave her hometown of Idaho Falls, Idaho, and partly because she loved the Pullman campus.

“I just loved it,” Watts said. “It felt right, it felt good … and I’m really happy I chose it.”

However, Watts said as soon as she started at WSU, she noticed racist issues on campus that made her question her choice.

“There were protests happening, rallies, all kinds of stuff,” Watts said. “And I was like, ‘I just got here.’”

She said being involved in Black Student Union helped educate her about her blackness and made her want to go out and learn more about it. Watts later became vice president of BSU. 

“[Watts has] the ability to listen even when, as is so often the case, white students are clueless about white privilege,” said Robert Eddy, associate professor in the department of English, who taught and mentored Watts. “She’s very patient with people who don’t see their own privilege.”

In addition to BSU, Watts was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a peer mentor in the Multicultural Student Mentoring Program, chair of ASWSU’s Committee Squared, and was in the Honors College. Watts said each organization impacted her in a unique way. 

She said her best advice to students is to be honest with themselves about who they are and what they want to do instead of worrying about what their parents want or what will make money. 

“I think you can make the most money in the world doing anything — you just have to be the best at it,” Watts said. “There’s always going to be someone who has to be the best in every field, but you’re not going to be that if you don’t love it.”

Eddy said Watts expects the best from everyone and has very high standards for herself. 

“I predict in 10 years … a lot more people than WSU students will have heard of Sparkle Watts,” Eddy said.