Back in 1962 when "A Wrinkle in Time" was first published, smart, young females who liked science were scarce. But author Madeline L'Engle was nothing if not a visionary, and so was her book's main character, Meg Murry.
The glasses-wearing, science-loving girl who ends up saving her father has captivated girls and boys alike for decades. Now, she's set to rule the silver screen come March 9, 2018 when the Disney film hits theaters. Even better than the diverse star-power behind the film (the cast includes Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling, among others), is the message Meg continues to send to girls and women today that science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers are decidedly not the boys clubs they once were. In fact women made up 24 percent of the Americans employed in STEM occupations in 2015.
HowStuffWorks talked to three modern-day "Megs" to find out how they were inspired by the character's bravery, ambition and intelligence to pursue real-life scientific success.
Dr. Amy Serin is a successful neuropsychologist. Reading "A Wrinkle in Time" as a girl had a huge effect on her future accomplishments. "It was 1984 and almost unheard of to have a female heroine who I could identify with in a book," says the Serin Center founder and chief science officer and co-founder of the Touchpoint Solution, in an email interview. "I loved the book so much I actually wrote to Madeline L'Engle and to my surprise she wrote back! We became pen pals for a short time when I was in the third or fourth grade. She encouraged me to follow my dreams and her responses really helped encourage me."
Meg was far more than a fictional character to Dr. Serin. "Reading the book helped me to identify that it was OK that I wasn't like other girls and that I should follow my passion and curiosity."
Today, Dr. Serin devotes her professional life to helping people who struggle with debilitating neurological disorders like anxiety, PTSD and depression. Through her work with the TouchPoint Solution, she has produced a lifestyle wearable device designed to significantly alleviate stress. "Having a way to manage stress in real-time represents a profound shift in the way we all can live more productive lives."