Our Team

Staff:

Andy MacDonald  //  Executive Director

Email

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

Email

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. Dan lives in St. Petersburg, Fla., where she is an avid cyclist and climber.

Leigh-Anne Cole  //  Deputy Director

Email

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

Email

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.

Headshot of Michael Basmajian

Michael Basmajian  //  National Administrator

Email

Michael oversees Student PIRGs tracking systems, helps plan national trainings, and provides administrative 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, Mass., and enjoys playing guitar and going to concerts.

Megan Anderson //  Recruitment Director

Email

Megan works to identify and recruit people looking to make a difference and empower students with the Student PIRGs. Megan has organized and run campaigns in Miami, Chicago, Philadelphia, & DC. Megan lives in Washington, D.C., where she enjoys biking around national monuments and taking advantage of the local food scene.

National Student Leadership:

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 the CONNPIRG State Board Treasurer. He is a junior Accounting major at UConn Storrs. He started in PIRG 3 semesters ago as an intern on the Save the Bees campaign. He joined PIRG because he thought he could make the most tangible difference on his campus with the organization.

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.