Christopher Chick, a molecular and environmental plant science doctoral student at Texas A&M University, has been named a 2010 Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholar.

The scholars program supports scientists interested in improving wheat and rice breeding.

Chick was one of seven men and seven women from 11 countries who were selected for the award. Each recipient will receive a full package of support to pursue his or her research.

He earned a bachelor's degree in biology from Hendrix College and a master's degree in environmental science from the University of Maryland.

His doctoral research interest pertains to the development of new heat-tolerant wheat cultivars that will be suited to North Africa, according to his Monsanto biography.

Chick's co-advisers are Drs. Dirk B. Hays and Amir Ibrahim, both associate professors in the department of soil and crop sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Chick will also collaborate with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico as part of his degree.

The award honors the late Dr. Henry Beachell and the late Dr. Norman Borlaug. Beachell pioneered rice breeding and research, and Borlaug, was renowned for his research on wheat.

Borlaug was a distinguished professor of international agriculture at Texas A&M from 1984 until his death last year.

According to the Monsanto website, the award "provides a full package of support, including a generous student stipend, tuition, applicable fees, health insurance, research fees and travel, as well as funds for the collaborating institution and advising professor."

Monsanto is funding the program for five years for a total of $10 million. The program is administered by Texas AgriLife Research, an agency of the Texas A&M University System. Dr. Ed Runge, professor and Billie B. Turner Chair in Production Agronomy Emeritus within the department of soil and crop sciences at Texas A&M, is the program director.

An independent panel of global judges reviewed the applications.

For more information visit the Monsanto Beachell-Borlaug International Scholars Program or the Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture.