Now one of the highest ranking civilian women in the Department of Defense, Gail McGinn was born in East St. Louis, Ill., and raised as a military child. She lived in many locations in the U.S. and abroad, and spoke fluent Danish as a child on the playgrounds of Odense, Denmark. At William Smith she participated in Judicial Board and was on the Echo and Pine staff before she was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in psychology. She earned a master's degree in education from Boston University.