Our Team


Andy MacDonald  //  Executive Director


Andy manages the staff who work on 37 campuses in eight states, as well as training, staff development, volunteer programs, campaign strategy and canvassing for the Student PIRGs. Andy has maintained a funding base for the student chapters, built a pipeline for students and staff to become lifelong activists, and been a part of a variety of social change campaigns. He has held numerous positions within the network, including regional director and assistant national summer canvass director for Fund for the Public Interest. Andy lives in Amherst, Mass., with his family, and enjoys all outdoor sports, especially running.

Dan Xie  //  Political Director


Dan directs the national political strategy and grant fundraising for the Student PIRGs. Dan has managed successful campaigns from coast to coast to cap global warming pollution, fight the high cost of higher education, and make voting more accessible for students. She has recruited and trained hundreds of students and staff on public interest campaigns and got her start as an intern with CALPIRG Students. Dan lives in St. Petersburg, Fla., where she is an avid cyclist and climber.

Manny Rin  //  New Voters Project Director


Manny directs the strategy, fundraising and field work for the New Voters Project so we can engage as many young people as possible in our democracy. Manny got his start organizing in 2009 as a student volunteer with CALPIRG and came on to full time staff after he graduated from University of California Davis. During his time with CALPIRG he recruited and trained hundreds of student activists on college campuses across the state, running projects that have registered thousands of students to vote and campaigns to protect California’s air, water and environment.

Leigh-Anne Cole  //  Deputy Director


Leigh-Anne is Deputy Director of the Student PIRGs. She coordinated the Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project from 2008 to 2012, which registered more than 300,000 people to vote and made more than 1 million “get-out-the-vote” contacts. As Director of Recruitment for The Public Interest Network, she recruited thousands of candidates to apply to join our network, hundreds of whom have found jobs or careers here, while others have gone on to pursue other public interest positions. Leigh-Anne lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where she loves to go hiking with her dog, Aspen, and her daughter, Rosie.

Jenn Engstrom  //  Deputy Director


Jenn works with West Coast Student PIRG chapters on campaign strategy and implementation. While working as an organizer and organizing director in California, Jenn led a team of organizers to build support for passing Proposition 67 to ban plastic grocery bags in California, save solar energy incentives in the state, and register more than 12,000 students to vote. Jenn began her career with the Student PIRGs as an intern with CALPIRG in 2007 at UC Berkeley. Jenn is a California native and lives in Los Angeles, where she enjoys spending time at the beach and visiting the many amazing restaurants in her city.

Michael Basmajian  //  National Administrator


Michael oversees Student PIRGs tracking systems, helps plan national trainings, and provides administrative and web support for the campus organizers and organizing directors. Michael started on staff as a MASSPIRG campus organizer, where he worked on a number of successful campaigns, from persuading major fast food chains to stop serving meat raised on routine antibiotics, to getting more affordable textbooks on college campuses in Western Massachusetts. Michael lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he enjoys playing guitar, going to shows and practicing heavy metal yoga

Shawna Upton //  Recruitment and Digital Director


Shawna Upton is the Recruitment and Digital Director for the Student PIRGs, where she works to identify, empower, and recruit people looking to make a difference. Shawna got her start as a MASSPIRG student volunteer at UMass Amherst where she studied Sociology. She has worked on campaigns to register over 3,000 UMass students to vote, and on campaigns to Update the Bottle Bill and promote a zero-waste future. She spent her first year on full time staff as a campus organizer at UConn Storrs, and then became the CONNPIRG Students Organizing Director before taking on her current role.

National Student Leadership:

Alex Gordon // Florida PIRG Students

Alex Gordon is a current Junior at Eckerd College, located in St. Petersburg, Florida. She is a double major in Political Science and Environmental Studies, and the Chapter Chair for FLPIRG Students at Eckerd. In 2019, Alex ran a successful Break Free From Plastic Campaign on her campus, resulting in the eventual sign on to the Pledge by Eckerd’s President, making Eckerd the first campus in the country to implement this pledge. Alex is especially passionate about combating plastic pollution at the local level and community-based organizing! In her free time, you can find her reading dystopian novels or researching new zero waste swaps

Chloe McKenna // Florida PIRG Students

Chloe McKenna is a sophomore at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL studying Environmental Studies and Animal Studies. She is the incoming Vice Chapter Chair and is a Co-Campaign Coordinator on the Ban Roundup Campaign. Chloe is passionate about protecting our planet and keeping our oceans healthy for future generations. She enjoys spending time traveling, scuba diving, and of course working to get people registered to vote!

Miguel Ramirez // CALPIRG Students Board Member

Miguel is a 3rd year Anthropology major and Public Policy minor at UC Riverside, and the Chair of the UC Riverside Chapter. He got involved with CALPIRG during the fall quarter of his freshman year working on the campaign that banned plastic grocery bags in California to protect the oceans. This year, he coordinated the successful New Voters Project to help 6,000 students register to vote and make half a million Election Day reminders. As a member of the Board Executive Committee, he is responsible for ensuring every CALPIRG chapter develops and maintains good campus relations with their administration and other important members of their campus community.

Oriana Holmes-Price // NJPIRG Students Board Member

Oriana is a student at Rutgers University-Camden in New Jersey, where she’s majoring in Political Science with a Legal Studies minor. She started off with NJPIRG Students as a volunteer on the New Voters Project to ensure her peers would know when, where, and how to vote for the 2018 Midterms. From there, she’s grown into being the Higher Education Affordability Campaign Coordinator where she’s been able to see her campaign and the chapter flourish with an array of new student volunteers from every background who care about social and environmental issues just as much as she does.

Sam Donahue // CONNPIRG Students Board Member

Sam is a senior, majoring in Accounting at the University of Connecticut. He’s been with PIRG since the first semester of his sophomore year. Growing up with a love of the outdoors, Sam has a passion for environmental issues. He started as an intern on the Save the Bees campaign, went on to run the campaign, and was eventually elected Treasurer of the UConnPIRG chapter; a role that he currently holds. Working with PIRG has allowed Sam to make a tangible difference on campus, and has brought him a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment with how he has spent his time as an undergraduate student. When not doing PIRG work, you can find Sam cramming for an exam, playing the guitar, or listening to music.

Deepak Venkatasubramanian // NCPIRG Students Board Member

Deepak Venkatasubramanian is a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill studying Economics and Public Policy. Deepak got involved with his NCPIRG Chapter in 2017 because he wanted to help elevate the student voice and to work on relevant democracy issues that are affecting young people in North Carolina. He is the Campaign Coordinator for the Democracy Protection Project and serves as a representative on the state board. Deepak helped to create a campus wide voter engagement plan at UNC and is currently working to get an early voting site on campus.