Q&A with this month’s #PlattProfile, Parker Bria.
Bria speaks about her experience in the Platt Evans house at Penn State.
(This interview has been edited for clarity and length.)
Q: How old are you?
A: I am 20 years old
Q: What school are you currently attending?
A: I am at Penn State and I am a junior here – I am at their main campus. I am also a Platt Evans scholar, so I live in the J. Wood Platt Evans scholars house up here.
Q: When do you graduate?
A: I am graduating May of 2022.
Q: What is your major?
A: I am an electrical engineering major in the college of engineering.
Q: How did you decide on that major?
A: I did a lot of computer science classes in high school and didn’t quite want to do computer science but wanted to do engineering. And I tried out computer engineering but it wasn’t exactly what I thought I wanted to do, so I switched over to electrical and now I am here and I love it.
Q: Do you participate in activities in school? Clubs?
A: I am really involved in Penn States THON. I am in one of their organizations here called Atlas.
Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: Well, obviously I like to play golf, I feel like every Platt caddie likes to do that.
Q: What golf club do you caddie for?
A: Huntingdon Valley Country Club.
Q: How long have you been caddying?
A: I started caddying the summer after my sophomore year of high school. This summer will be my sixth summer.
Q: How did you start caddying?
A: I was involved with a golf camp through the Police Athletic League. They had a representative from Huntingdon Valley come talk to us about opportunities in caddying and so I went and did the training. I did it with a lot of my friends but as the years went on they dropped out of it but I stuck with it and I am still there.
Q: What is your favorite thing about caddying?
A: I just like being around people and making connections. I just like generally being on the golf course to start with. Being able to meet all different kinds of people and different caddies, too. And just making connections with people and getting a workout in while networking and meeting new people.
Q: How did you hear about J. Wood Platt?
A: I don’t remember who from Huntingdon Valley came to speak with us but they told us how there are potential scholarships in caddying. Part of the reason why I started caddying was because of those scholarship opportunities that were brought to my attention. Also, there were a couple of J. Wood Platt scholars at Huntingdon Valley and of course, there are a lot of members at Huntingdon Valley that are very involved with J. Wood Platt. A mix of all of that together ended up having me apply for the scholarship.
Q: Tell me a little about being a Platt Evans scholar and living in the house.
A: So, I never actually thought I was going to get the Evans scholarship. Of course, hundreds of kids apply and you just sit there and hope you end up being one of the ones they take in. I applied because it was another caddie scholarship that was brought to my attention. The house only started up when I was a sophomore (getting the house itself) but it is something I definitely wish I was here for as a freshman because you get to live with kids from freshman to seniors that are all different types of majors. There’re engineering majors, biobehavioral health, business, political science, liberal arts, and you get a really diverse environment that you might not get just living in the dorms or going to your classes on campus. You get to meet people from all different states and all different walks of life but we’re all here with the same purpose of we all caddie, we all came to college wanting to get our degree, and we’re all very academic based. So, having people that are like you but also totally different from you and being able to have that comradery and that family feeling is definitely something that makes the college experience so much different.
Q: What are your long-term goals? Think 5 to 10 years
A: As for long-term goals, I am not sure what I want to exactly be doing. My goal is to find a successful job that is within my field of study, but I am not sure as to which direction I want to take my degree in just yet. Generically speaking, I see myself as a successful engineer that is helping improve the lives of others. I also see myself playing a lot of golf. Hopefully.
Q: What is something that happened to you while caddying that you will never forget?
A: One of my first summers at the club, I caddied for an older man who played by himself. I can’t remember what nine we started on, but we ended on Centennial. It was practically empty at that point in the day, so it was pretty much just him and I on C9. The entire nine holes, he told me stories about when he was younger as a high schooler and then later on when he was in the military. I have caddied a lot over the last five summers, but that loop is always the one that I think about when discussing a memorable loop. I don’t remember who the member I caddied for was as it was three or four years ago, but it was the most conversational and personable loop I have ever experienced and it is my favorite memory from being at the club.
Q: What advice would you give your younger self as a caddie or a new caddie just starting?
A: A piece of advice I would give to new caddies is to be personable on the course. Obviously don’t talk the member’s ear off, but be an optimistic and friendly face. The members will enjoy having you caddie for them and the other caddies will appreciate looping with you. Being personable and not afraid to talk to the other caddies and members is definitely helpful on the course.
Q: How has J. Wood Platt changed your life?
A: J. Wood Platt has helped put me through college and has opened the door to many post-graduation opportunities. Without the combined efforts of J. Wood Platt and the WGA, I wouldn’t be pursuing a degree in electrical engineering at Penn State. Without the financial help, I do not think I would have ended up at Penn State, but now I can’t imagine myself anywhere else! As a Platt scholar, my ability to network and make connections has improved and expanded, and it has opened the doors to future career opportunities. Being a J. Wood Platt Evans scholar has been a huge benefit for me as a college student, and I know it will continue to benefit me as I navigate through the real world after I graduate from Penn State. Being a Platt Evans scholar also gave me the opportunity to meet a bunch of professional golfers like Justin Thomas and Hideki Matsuyama and as a golfer, I feel as if that is life-changing too, but a different kind of life-changing.
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.