January 23, 2017

CHP is proud to introduce one of its youth residents, Emily Price, who was recently a runner-up for the Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference Outstanding Youth Award. Price is 16-year-old resident of the Orchard Grove community, a CHP property, in Pearisburg, Virginia.  The Giles High School junior is a straight-A student who was accepted this year into the Governor’s School, where she goes in the morning before reporting back to Giles.

This past school year, Price applied to the Giles County Summer Youth Work Program, a stipend-based training program, through which she was ultimately awarded an internship in a research laboratory at Virginia Tech.  Having expressed a strong interest in chemistry and microbiology, Price spent her summer conducting experiments on HSV2 and Zika Virus under the expert guidance of Dr. Andrea Bertke.

“Working in my lab was not simply a summer job for Emily. She committed herself to the work, but also had a full understanding of the greater impact of the projects to which she was contributing,” Bertke remarked. “She increased morale of those around her, particularly when others were having difficulties with their own projects, and never hesitated to provide assistance. I can say, without hesitation, that Emily demonstrated courage, compassion, community and leadership in the few short weeks she spent in my lab and my home. Her attitude and generosity, her ability to recognize when others needed assistance or support, and her commitment to helping them overcome those challenges were extraordinary.”

Before beginning her internship, Price first had to overcome the fact that her mother did not own a vehicle and needed to find a way to travel the 60 miles round trip from her home to work. The problem was solved through the generosity of Bertke, who invited Price to stay with her family during the week, with Price going to Bertke’s home on Monday and returning home at the end of the week.

Price also faced the problem of not having internet access in her house, which she is required to have in order to complete her homework after school.  As a result, CHP provided access to Orchard Grove’s wireless network for her homework assignments. CHP Resident Services Coordinator Sally Cooke explained, "Emily is an incredible young woman and we are so proud of her many achievements so early in life. We look forward to her ongoing successes and will do whatever we can to help her achieve her goals."

Despite challenges she faced, “Emily was always ready and willing to help anyone in the lab with their projects, in addition to completing her own. She expressed a desire and willingness to be part of the lab team, engage those around her, and maintain a commitment to the research she had become a part of. Her enthusiasm and commitment to the lab was more in keeping with a highly dedicated graduated student than a high school summer intern,” said Bertke.