JWCC Ag Alum Researching a Path to Clear Weeds from Crops

Community College Month Series

This story and others to follow will highlight the impact John Wood Community College has upon the students, alumni and communities it serves as JWCC celebrates Community College Month in April.

Brent MansfieldGrowing up, Brent Mansfield saw firsthand how weeds like waterhemp damaged crops and decreased corn yields on his family’s farm in White Hall, Illinois.  After high school, Mansfield chose John Wood Community College’s agriculture program for its solid academics and affordability. His experiences at JWCC helped him realize the opportunities available in the agriculture industry, which started him down the career path to become a crop protection researcher. 

Crop protection researchers investigate how insect, disease and weed pests threaten the food supply by reducing crop productivity.

Thanks to academic scholarships and summer internships, Mansfield graduated from JWCC debt-free in 2014, and transferred to the University of Illinois where he earned a bachelor’s degree in crop sciences with a minor in food and agribusiness management in 2016. 

Today Mansfield is currently pursuing his master’s degree in weed science under his advisor, Dr. Bryan Young, at Purdue University’s Department of Botany and Plant Pathology.  

“I moved to West Lafayette, Indiana, the day after graduating from the University of Illinois,” Mansfield said. “Agriculture field research is limited to one season a year in the Midwest, so it was crucial for me to start as soon as possible in order to utilize the summer for my research project. My research focuses on studying the mechanisms for waterhemp resistance to certain herbicides,” he shared. 

Mansfield’s experiences at JWCC, University of Illinois and Purdue have opened up countless networking opportunities for his career, and he is currently considering the next step on his journey. 

“At this point, I still have aspirations to pursue a Ph.D., and I also want to work in the industry as a crop protection researcher,” he shared. “My long-term goal would be to utilize my experiences and knowledge obtained with a Ph.D. to establish an independent research station on my family’s farm conducting agronomic research to benefit the farmers in my area.”

Like many other JWCC Trail Blazers, Mansfield is well on the path to success, but he also knows he wouldn’t be where he is today without the help of those at JWCC who helped him start his educational career.

John Wood Community College is the educational link between business and community. JWCC collaboratively creates innovative and relevant academic and training programs with business leaders to educate young people and the workforce for today’s needs and tomorrow’s opportunities. JWCC has centers in Quincy, Pittsfield, Baylis and Mt. Sterling, Illinois. Programs include a comprehensive baccalaureate transfer curriculum, customized business training, career/technical degrees and certificates and personal enrichment courses.

Learn more at: www.jwcc.edu.