Meet Our Team

At the Student PIRGs, you’ll work alongside some of the best organizers in the country — people who have been doing this work for more than 30 years. Find out more about some of the people you’ll be working with.

Andy Macdonald

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 Public Interest Network, including regional director and assistant national summer canvass director for Fund for the Public Interest. Andy lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with his family, and enjoys all outdoor sports, especially running.

Dan Xie

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 got her start as an intern with CALPIRG Students, and has gone on to recruit and train hundreds of students and staff on public interest campaigns. Dan lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she is an avid cyclist and climber.

Dan Xie

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.

Jenn Engstrom

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.

Sam Gibb

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 help pass a ban on 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 University of California, 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

Michael Basmajian
National Administrator

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, Massachusetts, and enjoys playing guitar and going to concerts.

Megan Anderson

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 the University of Massachusetts, 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 state's bottle bill and promote a zero-waste future. She spent her first year on full time staff as a campus organizer at the Univerrsity of Connecticut, Storrs, and then became the CONNPIRG Students organizing director before taking on her current role.

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