Kate Puzey was one of a kind: radiant, astute & gifted, wise beyond her years, and, most of all, exceptionally compassionate and caring for others. An adventurous, open-minded, and upbeat individual, she described herself as an optimistic realist and strived to make the world a better place.
Kate’s compassionate spirit led her to dedicate much of her life’s energy towards working on behalf of others. She was an outspoken advocate for numerous causes in high school, worked with underprivileged children during her college years, volunteered for the International Rescue Committee upon graduating, and finally joined the Peace Corps in 2007. While Kate cared about many issues, she was an especially strong advocate for women, ‘the underdog’, and her friends & family.
As a Peace Corps Volunteer, Kate was assigned to teach English in the West African nation of Benin at the small rural village of Badjoudae. Over the next two years she developed a close-knit relationship with her community, particularly the women and children. Kate formed a ‘girls club’, organized events such as ‘girl camps’ for women, taught reproductive health, and spoke out tactfully against male oppression.
When she discovered that a fellow teacher, a Beninese citizen who worked for the Peace Corps, was sexually abusing young female students, Kate took steps to protect her students and reported his misconduct to the Peace Corps headquarters in Benin. The Peace Corps Inspector General’s report and several other accounts indicate that her requested confidentiality was breached in this office. A few days after the Peace Corps fired the man she accused, Kate was found brutally murdered at her home on March 11, 2009.
Kate was born in Augsburg, Germany on June 19, 1984, where her parents were teaching overseas. When she was nine years old, her family moved to Okinawa, Japan, where Kate lived until college. From an early age she displayed her exceptionally caring and talented spirit. In high school Kate was elected student body president her junior and senior year, and graduated at the top of her class in 2002. Kate then attended The College of William and Mary, majoring in sociology with a minor in business. She also studied abroad her junior year at the University of Montpelier in France, developing a language proficiency that would later allow her to be a teacher in Benin.
A truly global citizen, during her brief 24 years Kate traveled extensively to such varied places as England, Indonesia, Italy, Ghana, Greece, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, Hong Kong, Spain, and Thailand. She was a gifted writer whose descriptions of her travels allowed family and friends to enjoy her experiences vicariously, as well as a talented photographer who captured the world with sensitivity and insight. Her bright smile and positive attitude endeared her to those whose lives she touched. Kate’s aspiration was to pursue a career in nonprofit management, likely in the area of international development in relation to advocacy on behalf of women and children.
As her loving, vibrant spirit allowed Kate a special gift for connecting deeply with people from all walks of life, her untimely loss has left a profound void for her family and many friends around the world.
This is the official website for the
- a group started by Kate Puzey's family and friends to ensure policy changes are implemented to protect Peace Corps Volunteers who are either whistleblowers or victims of sexual or physical violence. We hope to finally see legislation enacted this year in order to prevent tragedies for all future Peace Corps Volunteers and their families.
We strongly support the Peace Corps; however it has become clear that specific policy changes need to be implemented in order to honor the commitment of its brave volunteers and to strengthen the Peace Corps.
Light a candle for Kate Tribute video for Kate Puzey
Senator Isakson pays tribute to Kate
Senator Johnny Isakson honors the life of Peace Corps volunteer Kate Puzey during a speech on the Senate floor. March 11, 2010