Q&A with this month’s #PlattProfile, Eric Plessett.
Plessett talks about his internship at Bald Head Island Conservancy and how he is protecting the sea turtles.
(This interview has been edited for clarity and length.)
Q: How old are you?
Q: What school are you currently attending?
A: I am currently attending the University of North Carolina Wilmington, UNCW.
Q: When do you graduate?
A: I’ll be graduating this December.
Q: What is your major?
A: I am majoring in marine biology and Spanish.
Q: How did you decide on that major?
A: I just always really loved the ocean and I love connecting with people. I grew up surfing so I picked a major that would keep me close to the ocean and Spanish to share the knowledge I learn about marine biology with as many people as possible. I don’t know if it made sense, but it seemed like a good option I had and it’s been a lot of fun.
Q: Tell me about what you have going on currently
A: Currently, I am an intern for the Bald Head Island Conservancy. It is a small island about an hour and a half south of Wilmington in North Carolina. I am working in their sea turtle protection program so we patrol the beaches on our ATV’s from 9 PM to 6 AM, sometimes a little later depending on what the turtles are doing. Basically, our goal is to tag and identify every turtle that comes onto our beach as well as relocate any nests that are laid in a bad spot so we can improve our hatchling success rate for these endangered loggerhead sea turtles.
Q: Do you participate in activities at school?
A: I do! I am in the fraternity Fiji so we do quite a bit of philanthropy whether it is volunteering for miracle league. We also do some fundraisers throughout the year. My favorite is the Skate Jam which is when we go to one of our brother’s houses and we have a big half-pipe in their backyard. We put on an event with live music and raffles. We raise money for Indo Jax Surf Charities which is a nonprofit that raises money to teach kids who are mentally or physically disabled how to surf. So it is really cool because it is really rewarding.
Q: What golf club do you caddie for?
A: Whitemarsh Valley Country Club
Q: How long have you been caddying?
A: A long time, I believe I started when I was 11 turning 12 going into 7th grade, so that would put me at about 11 years.
Q: How did you start caddying?
A: I started caddying because I had a really close friend whose family was members at Whitemarsh Country Club. One day, we were sitting around during the summer and his mom was like, “Hey, you guys should go caddy.” And we were like, “alright I guess we should” and it has been history since then.
Q: What is your favorite thing about caddying?
A: I just love watching good golf, I really do. I like being outside, I like talking to people and it is even better when you get to watch people play good golf.
Q: How did you hear about J. Wood Platt?
A: I heard about J. Wood Platt through my caddy master. I saw a couple of players around the course with these red bibs, we do a bib ranking system at Whitemarsh, and I asked my caddy master what are the red bibs for. He told me it was the J. Wood Platt scholars and I would be of age in a year or two and I applied.
Q: What are your long-term goals? Think 5 to 10 years
A: In 5-10 years from now I hope to be finishing up my master’s in marine biology and get a job in fishery management. Since I’m a double major in Spanish and marine bio I’m hoping I’ll be able to get a job in Spain or South America.
Q: What is something that happened to you while caddying that you will never forget?
A: One thing that happened caddying that I’ll never forget was the 100ºF + member-guest tournaments every summer. It always seemed like that tournament fell on the hottest day year after year.
Q: How has J. Wood Platt changed your life?
A: J. Wood Platt has given me the opportunity to attend a university perfectly suited for my academic interests. I feel like I’m more prepared for the challenges ahead that come with working in the marine biofield.
J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust
The Trust’s mission, which has remained constant since its inception in 1958, is to financially aid deserving caddies in their pursuit of higher education. The J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust was created by GAP through the efforts of then President Walter A. Schmidt; Leo Fraser, President of the local section of Professional Golfers Association of America; and Albert Keeping, Golf Professional at Gulph Mills Golf Club. It was named in honor of Philadelphia’s premier golfer of the era, J. Wood Platt. Not only was Mr. Platt an accomplished player, but he was also the Trust’s co-founder and first contributor.