Our Team

Student Leadership

Emma Hersom // Trinity College Chapter Chair, State Board Member

Emma is a Sophomore, majoring in Political Science and Human Rights at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. She has been working with PIRG since the beginning of her first year, where she worked on the New Voters Project and Affordable Textbooks campaigns. Last semester, she was Volunteer Coordinator, regularly meeting with and helping new interns and volunteers to ensure that they felt more comfortable and represented within the chapter. Emma continues to strengthen her involvement with PIRG as Trinity’s CONNPIRG Chapter Chair, as she is committed to making real, positive change not only within Trinity’s community, but in Hartford and the surrounding communities as well.

Kathleen Adams // State Board Member

Kathleen is a Junior at Trinity College, studying English and International Studies, and minoring in Italian. She is from Andover, Massachusetts where she grew up with her two older brothers and younger sister. In High School, she was very involved in athletics, but is excited to now have the ability to focus on CONNPIRG throughout her remaining years in college. Kathleen has been involved with CONNPIRG since Sophomore year and has loved all of the opportunities she has been given to work towards a better, more sustainable future.


Julia McLaughlin // Organizing Director


Julia McLaughlin is the Organizing Director for CONNPIRG and MASSPIRG Students. Julia got her start as a student organizer with her own MASSPIRG chapter while she was an undergrad at UMass Amherst where she studied English and French. She spent her first two years on full time staff as a campus organizer at UC Riverside and UCLA with CALPIRG Students, working to help successfully pass SB100, a state bill committing California to 100% clean electricity by 2045. In the summer, Julia enjoys spending her weekends at the beach, laying out in the sun and swimming in the ocean.

Courtney DeMeglio // Campus Organizer


Courtney is a Campus Organizer for CONNPIRG Students. She graduated from Western Connecticut State University in 2021 with a degree in Political Science. Prior to joining the staff in August 2021, Courtney was on the National Council for UNICEF USA focused on LGBT+ youth advocacy. She is excited to take what she has through prior experiences and help guide the Trinity students into reaching their goals.

Jim Leahy // State House Advocate

Jim Leahy has 30 years of experience in lobbying, non-profit association management and political organizing. An expert in building strong grassroots organizations, he has worked with clients in a wide variety of sectors, including healthcare, environment, consumer protection, public safety, as well as arts & culture. His advocacy track record includes several high profile wins, including two first-in-the-nation laws, one to require labeling genetically modified foods and another to require labeling small parts that pose choking hazards to children under 3.

Dan Xie  //  Political Director


Dan began her career in college as a student leader with CALPIRG, where she helped to bring high-speed rail to California. In her current role she directs the national political strategy for the Student PIRGs. She advises staff and students on strategic campaign plans and amplifies our work with coalition partners and at conferences. Dan has managed successful campaigns to cap global warming pollution, fight the high cost of higher education, and make voting more accessible for students. Dan lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she is an avid cyclist and climber.