Peace Corps Union Stewards
Ryan Haefke - Chief Steward
Ryan Haefke is an Administrative Specialist in VRS who lives in Chicago. He is an (e)RPCV from Senegal where he served as an Agriculture Forestry volunteer from September 2019 until the COVID-19 evacuation. He is a native of Kansas and an avid snacker. Ryan is interested in the marriage of agriculture, forestry and economics. He believes the Union is an essential place to ensure that Peace Corps workers are valued for the awesome work they do, and to make the agency better for everyone.
Ask lots of questions and be observant; our vigilance aids the process of advancement for all Peace Corps workers. We’re in this together!
Alixandria Warren - Steward & President
Alixandria Warren began as a quiet advocate for staff at Peace Corps and now she’s been elected President for the year 2022-2023. Alix joined the union because she was interested in having a voice in this agency. She started off working on committees, such as the policy and website committees. Later, joining the steward’s council as a member. She holds a B.A. in History from Milikin University and G.M.A. in International Relations from Webster University. From 2017 -2019 she served in Morocco as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
As a union steward, I've had the opportunity to learn how to interpret the CBA and other policies to see how they align with current rules and regulations of the agency and our union.
Sakeena Ali - Steward
Dr. Sakeena Ali is an educator and a lifelong learner. Her goals are to empower those in need and help others reach their highest potential. She has been working within the education field for 20+ years and has experience with all ages and backgrounds. Her background studying abroad, working in the US and overseas, and visiting 30+ countries brings a unique perspective to her work. Dr. Ali’s love for people and cultures around the world brought her back to Peace Corps, where she helps others gain the opportunity to see and better understand the world they live in. In October 2017, she began as a field- based recruiter for the Los Angeles area, including Santa Barbara and Ventura County.
We are stronger together!
Joshua Castro - Steward & Treasurer
When Joshua Castro was in third grade, he was transported from his classroom in Stuart, Florida to a village on the other side of the world through monthly letters from his class penpal, a Peace Corps volunteer. Joshua joined the Peace Corps in 2015 as a Forestry Educator. He served in Paraguay from 2015-2017 promoting environmental stewardship and trash management practices. Some of his secondary projects involved teaching English, dengue prevention initiatives, and worm composting with small-scale farmers. Since returning to the states Joshua worked as an adjunct lecturer in dendrology at the University of Florida. In 2019, Joshua joined the agency as a regional recruiter for South Texas. In his spare time Joshua likes making short films, learning about financial literacy, and reading history.
There is a learning curve. Don’t let it frustrate you or intimidate you from getting involved. Being a Union Steward has given me skills that I know will continue serving me well in my career.
Genevieve Locksley - Steward & Trustee
Geneviève Locksley (She/Her) is a Placement Specialist for the Office of Volunteer Recruitment and Selection. She served as a Youth Development Volunteer in the Philippines from 2018-2020 and was the President of the Volunteer Advisory Council (VAC). She lives by the cornerstone “nothing for the people without the people” and believes that serving as Union Steward and on the Executive Board is her opportunity to listen to your needs and advocate with and for you. Outside of her work with Peace Corps she is a playwright/theatre-maker, whitewater kayaker, and human to the sweetest little rescue dog, Mai-Mai.
Lessons Learned : coming soon!
Mike Black - Steward & Secretary
Mike became active in the Union in early 2020 as he recognized how economic justice ties in with the broader push for social justice – and the powerful role unions can play in support of the cause. He previously served as the Secretary, and currently serves as Vice President. Prior to working for the Peace Corps, he served as a Community Economic Development Volunteer in Albania from 2017-2019, where he undertook a diverse range of activities in his community. While he misses Albania’s snow-topped mountains and ubiquitous invitations to coffee, he appreciates playing a role in inspiring the next generation of Peace Corps volunteers as the Regional Recruiter in his hometown of Boston.
Don’t be afraid of being told “no.” We might anticipate pushback from management on different issues, but that shouldn’t discourage us from advocating for our members. Much better to make the ask and see where things go from there.
Amy Jenkins - Steward & Membership Coordinator
Amy has served as an active volunteer member of the Union and previously served as a Trustee. Amy is a Program Specialist with University Programs in the Office of Volunteer Recruitment and Selection. She served as a TEFL Volunteer in Kyrgyzstan in 2000-2001. After Peace Corps, Amy was awarded a Peace Corps Coverdell Fellowship at Teachers College, Columbia University where she earned a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She lived and worked in Myanmar, India, and China and has traveled extensive throughout South and Southeast Asia. As a steward, Amy is committed to advocating for your employee rights and supporting you. Outside her work with Peace Corps, Amy is an active member of the KC-RPCV group, volunteers at local theaters, and enjoys hiking with her mini labradoodle, Perky.
Lesson Learned: coming soon!
Ben Simasek - Steward
Ben became involved with the Union in 2018 as he learned how important it is for Peace Corps employees to have a voice on matters that affect our working conditions and a channel to address violations of our rights. He has served as a steward on numerous cases and previously was Chief Steward. Ben served as an Economic Development Volunteer in the Dominican Republic from 2009-2011. He works in OCIO as the Product Manager for the Volunteer Reporting and Grants (VRG) system. He enjoys spending time in the great outdoors.
Volunteering with the Union has helped broaden my perspective of our agency. If our Union isn't strong and vigilant, major changes can be (and have been) pushed from the top down with minimal input from or even communication with employees and employee's rights can be violated without anyone even realizing we have rights. Effective stewards should be respectful, confident, firm, and precise in our communication with management. When we have facts and evidence on our side, we have to stay focused on the outcome we're seeking and put the burden of proof or refutation on management.
Kevin Mills is the Financial Management Specialist in GGM. Previously, he served in the Peace Corps as a Community Economic Development Volunteer in the Dominican Republic. While there, he worked with a women’s association to improve quality control measures, marketing techniques, and implement basic accounting principles for their small chocolate-producing business. He also facilitated professional development trainings for members of the Colorado Rockies training program in coordination with other Peace Corps Volunteers. Prior to his Peace Corps service, Kevin worked as a research assistant for Michigan Legislative Consultants. Kevin holds bachelor’s degrees in Political Theory & Constitutional Democracy and Finance from Michigan State University with a minor in Political Economy. Currently, he is pursuing a master’s degree in International Development from American University’s School of International Service. In his free time Kevin enjoys movies, cooking, being constantly let down by Detroit sports teams, and yelling at the T.V. while watching Michigan State football and basketball.
Lessons Learned: Coming soon!
Ashley Acosta Fox - Steward
Ashley Acosta-Fox is an E-Learning Specialist in the Office of Staff Learning and Development. She holds a B.A. in Philosophy & Religious Studies from Old Dominion University, an M.A. in Philosophy from The University of Kansas, and an M.S. in Education from Johns Hopkins University. Passionate about the intersection of education and technology and a true believer in the potential for online learning to build bridges and create opportunities, Ashley has also logged over a decade of experience teaching in higher education. Through her lifetime commitment to service, she has been a Girl Scout, a court advocate for survivors of domestic violence, and a judge for National History Day. Ashley is thrilled to bring her enthusiasm for activism and service to others to her work as a steward.
Being a good steward means listening both with your heart and with your head. Always remember the human on the other side. Progress can feel slow at times and some challenges can feel insurmountable when you face them on your own, but the beauty of collective action is that you’re never actually on your own.”
Josephine McGugan - Steward & Events Coordinator
Josephine McGugan is the Events Coordinator and a Union Steward. She joined the Union after having a positive experience helping to negotiate a new contract for another ASFME union in 2015. After serving in Peace Corps Albania she knew she wanted to work for Peace Corps and took a role at HQ. She currently works in Staging and Pre-Departure as a Training Specialist. She views the Union as an way to help improve and straighten Peace Corps for all.
Genevi Schindehutte - Steward & Vice President
Genevi Schindehutte is a Placement and Assessment Specialist in the Office of Volunteer Recruitment and Selection. She served as a TEFL Volunteer in Kosovo. Genevi holds an MA in Geography and a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Her interests include travel, philosophy, photography and daydreaming. Genevi is excited to collaborate with other Union members to strengthen and advocate for employee rights.