87 Gail Walsh

Gail Walsh is an internationally award winning computer scientist and researcher. Born in northern New Brunswick, Canada, she completed courses at Mt. St. Vincent University, Dalhousie University, Université de Moncton and Université Laval. She has also studied at the University of New Brunswick, Hebrew University and several other institutions of higher learning.

Her first profession was social work and she has been a supervisor in the area of child abuse and inclusion where she was a pioneer in New Brunswick’s introduction of inclusion in the school system. At the time, she was both a
social worker advocating the program and a school board member who pushed for this innovative program. To date, this province has the most progressive program in the world. She remains active in the New Brunswick Association for Community Living.

She has been an activist and leader in the women’s movement and as Director of an Addictions Center, helped lead the government to provide more services for women in that area.

She has also worked in the areas of violence against women, helping to cofound the first association of sexual assault centres across Canada. She has served on the executive of the National Action Committee of the Status of Women.

She was the first woman in her province to be elected as President of a political party and continues to push for more women in politics.

Her work in computer science is equally well known and she has lectured around the world including Ireland. Her research area is biotechnology but she also is writing a book on the history of programming languages, believing people must be taught several languages at once and not in the traditional method of one language as was once the norm.

She is extremely proud of her Irish heritage and was one of four founding members (the only woman) _ of the Irish Canadian Cultural Association of New Brunswick, a group that led a renaissance of all things Irish in that province.
She recalls as the first Secretary the many memberships that “just came pouring in! We knew there was a need out there”, she recalls,’but the response was overwhelming!”

She continues to be involved in Irish activities and wants some day to write what she terms “the quintessential Canadian book of Irish heritage, if I can ever ascertain exactly what that is since we Irish are also if not exactly diverse, certainly unique in some ways.” She jests she can probably understand the Irish Canadian “as someone who comes from a family that represents -the sum of Irish culture and all three religions – Roman Catholic, Protestant and Jewish”.

Gail has served on numerous boards and is currently a member of the Board of the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, N.S., NBACL and a number of information technology organizations.