From Issue Summer 2022
Greenville native, Will Eubank, never questioned his choice of where to attend school when it was time for him to go to college. Born and raised by two former Bulldogs, Eubank always planned to follow in his family's footsteps and earn his degrees from Mississippi State University.
"Mississippi State is home," Eubank said. "There was never really another option, in my mind. I grew up an MSU fan; both of my parents attended MSU and got their undergraduate degrees, and my dad earned two graduate degrees here."
Eubank received his bachelor's degree in agronomy in May 2019, and now is finishing up his master's degree in the subject in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences. Throughout his master's, Eubank researched non-uniform stands of inbred and hybrid rice varieties to help inform replant decisions. This research was aimed at helping growers understand how much damage a crop could withstand and still yield a successful season.
"I was excited to start this research because it is immensely applicable to growers, and that's what I want to help with. I want to help growers with the big picture and help answer the questions they have," Eubank said. "Researching how much rice populations can be reduced while still seeing a significant yield helps explain how much loss can occur in a crop and still result in a successful season."
Eubank worked in Stoneville throughout his undergraduate career and built a strong connection with the people at the Delta Research and Extension Center, which helped him decide what program to study.
"I love the work that I get to do here, but I really fell in love with the people here in Stoneville, which is why I chose this program," Eubank said. "I was drawn toward the research here, and the people are down-to-earth, easy to work with, and are a very supportive community to be around."
Dr. Jason Bond, extension/research professor located at the Delta Research and Extension Center, explained how the difficulty of non-uniform rice populations inspired Eubank to get creative in his research.
"Will's work was unique because of the way he achieved the plant populations he utilized. He had two different rice varieties where one was tolerant to one herbicide and the second was not tolerant to that same herbicide," Bond said. "He mixed the seeds, planted them, and then sprayed with the herbicide in order to remove the non-tolerant variety, which creates a more realistic simulation of a low plant population to answer questions for growers."
Eubank finished his research and defended his thesis in late April 2022. He plans to continue his education and pursue his doctoral degree at Mississippi State University with the same team at the Delta Research and Extension Center continuing his research with rice varieties.
"Will started working for us in high school and has continued to work up to his master's and soon Ph.D. He has learned a tremendous amount since starting and has done a wonderful job. He works hard and is good at problem solving," Bond said. "Will has been dedicated to his research and has learned one of the most essential things a scientist can learn, which is how to work around the problems that arise in research and come up with solutions to those problems."
This research is funded, in part, by the Rice Promotion Board.