Undergraduate Engineer Divina Allen submitted this post about Christine Malanga Wilson, her Great Aunt.
My Great Aunt Tine was the oldest child of five, and grew up in the Depression helping to support her family from a very young age. Although she never had the opportunity to attend college, through the support of her mother (my namesake) Divina Malanga and an influential teacher my Aunt Tine was able to complete a medical technology program, and then became one of 26 founding members at Merck & Company. During WWII, Aunt Tine worked on malaria research with Merck, and published work about the benefits of using Belladonna Lily bulbs in the disease’s treatment. Recently, her work has been revisited by scientists still trying to fight the disease globally.
Growing up in a family populated by artists of various sorts–architects, photographers, theatre historians–I often felt alone in my love of science and mathematics. My Aunt Tine has always supported my dreams of becoming a scientist, and helped me achieve those goals in many ways. When applying for college at the end of high school not only did my Aunt offer me advice and counsel on institutions to look at, she provided me with funding to apply to more places and give me the most options possible. I can honestly say I would not be graduating from Harvey Mudd College in a couple of months if she had not been a role model in my life.