Serving as a LGBTQ Peace Corps volunteer

Shay and Betsie
Shay and Betsie, Peace Corps volunteers in Ecuador

Shay had few expectations when she began her Peace Corps service in Ecuador but, as a lesbian, she did expect that she wouldn’t be able to be open about her sexual orientation. In actuality, she met her future wife and now helps create a healthy and safe environment for other lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer volunteers.

The 27-year-old Cape Girardeau, Mo., native and graduate of Southeast Missouri State University joined the Peace Corps for the opportunity to promote peace and friendship while sharing technical skills and cultures. Shay arrived in Ecuador in May 2014 and serves as a health extension volunteer. She is also the president of SpeQtrum, a support group for Peace Corps volunteers in Ecuador who identify as LGBTQ or ally.

“Being a Peace Corps volunteer presents challenges from so many angles,” Shay said. “Personally, my identifying as a lesbian has been one of the smallest challenges during service, but I do feel that my in-country staff is particularly attentive to the needs of LGBTQ volunteers.” Continue reading “Serving as a LGBTQ Peace Corps volunteer”

Meet Your Peace Corps Recruiter: Joe Zucchini


Name: Joe Zucchini
Country of Service: Micronesia, 1990-92; Zambia 1997-99
Assignment: Education; Water/Sanitation
Recruitment Territory: St. Louis, Mo. Continue reading “Meet Your Peace Corps Recruiter: Joe Zucchini”

Cape Girardeau, Mo., resident begins Peace Corps service in China

Emily Church, 27, of Cape Girardeau, Mo., has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will depart for China June 27 to begin training as an education volunteer. Church will make a difference teaching English at a university to local students.

Church is the daughter of Boyce Church, Pam Church, and Elizabeth Church and a graduate of Cape Central High School in Cape Girardeau, Mo. She then attended Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Mo., where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and criminal justice in 2013.  Continue reading “Cape Girardeau, Mo., resident begins Peace Corps service in China”