Welcome! I am Gail (Banaszkiewicz) Carmichael.  I manage external education programs at Shopify.

About Me

I'm a computer scientist, educator, and changemaker. I've spent time in academia, industry, and a few places in between.

I am currently Shopify's Computing Education Program Manager. Our mission is to make learning computer science and computational thinking better for everyone. Learn more about CS education at Shopify.

Our biggest project is a ground-breaking initiative known as the Carleton Shopify Bachelor of Computer Science partnership. Students work full time at Shopify on industry-scale projects, applying concepts mapped to curriculum, in addition to attending academic courses at Carleton. This brings in-class learning closer to on-the-job experience. We aren't just providing work-integrated learning; we've aligned it with the formal CS curriculum. Learn more about the Carleton Shopify BCS partnership.

I am particularly passionate about sharing my joy of computer science with others, especially girls and women. I am a co-founder of Carleton University's Women in Science and Engineering (CU-WISE), a member of the now disbanded Advisory Board for the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, and a long-time contributor to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. I am currently working on setting up a more formal Canadian branch of Girl Develop It! and continue to participate in many outreach initiatives.

Latest News

Faculty Instructor

I have been hired by the School of Computer Science at Carleton University as a faculty instructor for a one year term beginning July 1 2013.  I will be teaching a variety of first, second, and third year courses for both majors and non-majors.

Poster Presentation at GRAND 2013

I will be presenting a poster at GRAND 2013 for the BELIEVE project.  This is the abstract we submitted:

Crafting satisfying narratives while preserving player freedom of action is a longstanding challenge for computer games.  Many games use a quest structure, allowing players to experience content nonlinearly.  However, this risks creating disjointed stories when side quests only minimally integrate with the main story. We propose a flexible, scene-based story system that reacts dynamically to the player’s actions.

In the proposed system, stories are defined within a graph where nodes represent scenes and edges represent causality.  Nodes are tagged with information including possible locations for the scene, the plans or goals connected to the scene, and the agents and objects involved in the scene.  At any time, the distance from the player’s current game state to nodes in the story graph is measured according to five dimensions of nonlinearity: time, space, causality, agents involved, and the player’s goal.  The system will use the distance to determine what nodes should be available at any given time.  Scenes will be modified dynamically according to when and where they ultimately take place, ensuring that each node has a narrative connection to its predecessors.  This system allows for potentially connected stories driven by player action, leading to a more cohesive emergent story.

Go Code Girl

Are you a high school girl who ever wondered about programming? Or do you know one that might benefit from seeing what it's all about? Then be sure to sign up for Go Code Girl, a one day workshop being help at the University of Ottawa on April 20!

Research Article About Me

An article published online by Carleton University discusses my research project:

A team of Carleton researchers is trying to find out why so many computer games shy away from using nonlinear storytelling techniques – that is, techniques that help present stories out of chronological order. Traditional media like films and novels use all kinds of interesting nonlinear techniques, like those found in Run Lola Run, Groundhog Day and Memento. Many games tend to stick to fairly simple techniques like flashbacks, but more sophisticated approaches could result in more games with critically acclaimed stories.

Read the rest in Creating Compelling Computer Games.

Recent Speaking Engagements

I recently spoke at TEDxSandyHillWomen about women in tech, and will be giving a tutorial in the new year about interactive storytelling at the Canadian University Software Engineering Conference (CUSEC).

Slides for 'Interactive Storytelling' Can-Con Talk

On September 23 I gave a talk about interactive storytelling at a local sci-fi convention. These are my slides (PDF).

New Publication: Understanding the Power of Augmented Reality for Learning

My work linking cognitive theories to augmented reality has been accepted to be published in Proceedings of World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education 2012.  Check out the abstract and download the paper on this page.

Featured in 'Bit by Bit,' a book on careers for women in tech

I was interviewed and profiled in a book designed for women considering a career in tech. The book is called "Bit by Bit: A Young Woman's Guide to entering and succeeding in High Tech Careers."  It is currently available on Lulu and should be on Amazon soon.

Bit by Bit

Winner of School of Computer Science TA Excellence Award 2011-2012

I just got word that I was chosen as one of the two winners of this year's award for teaching assistants in our department.  Even better, the other winner was one of my TA's the first summer I taught!

Nominated for Outstanding TA Award

I was nominated for my term as TA this past fall.  I TA'ed for our third year game development course, which focuses on 3D graphics.  In addition to the usual grading and office hours, I maintained a course blog, guest lectured, and held an informal tutorial before the midterm.

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