Our Team

Student Leadership


Nic Riani // State Board Chair

Nic is a 3rd year Public Affairs Major at UCLA and the CALPIRG Students State Board Chair, as well a member at large for the UCLA chapter.  He got involved his freshman year working to secure commitments from California and the University of California for 100% clean electricity. Since then, he has coordinated that campaign at UCLA, and launched the project to get UCLA to become a “Bee-friendly” campus. As Board Chair, he is responsible for coordinating the statewide student leadership team, working with the Organizing Director and students to make campaign and organizational decisions, and representing the organization at conferences and meetings across the country.


Sithara Menon // State Board Vice Chair

Sithara is a 3rd year Biology major at UCLA, and the chair of the UCLA chapter. She got started her freshman year working to secure commitments from the state of California and the UC system for 100% clean electricity. Since then, she worked to turn out the youth vote (increasing UCLA’s turnout by almost 500%) and ran the Zero Hunger campaign to end food insecurity on campus. As Board Vice Chair, Sithara works to build the relationships with key decision makers both on and off campus.


Kathryn Gonzalez-Valle // State Board Treasurer

Kathryn is a 4th-year History major at UCLA and the Vice Chair of the UCLA Chapter. She began working with CALPIRG on the New Voter’s Project where she helped in registering thousands of students to vote and worked to change the campus culture around voting. She also has been working on combatting food insecurity on college campuses through the Zero Hunger Campaign. As the Treasurer of the statewide Board, Kathryn helps create the budget and the plans for our funding drives.

Emily Webber // Executive Committee Member at Large, Board of Directors

Emily is a 3rd year Genetics and Genomics major at UC Davis, and the Chair of the UC Davis Chapter. She worked on the campaign to pass Prop 68 in 2018 guaranteeing more funding for California State Parks and works on the Save the Bees campaign. Emily has lobbied on renewable energy and voter rights in Sacramento and Washington, DC. As Member at Large on the Board Executive Committee, she plans to work on inter-campus campaign engagement.

James Willhite // Executive Committee Member at Large, Board of Directors

James is a 4th year Environmental Studies student at UC Santa Cruz, and the Chair of the UC Santa Cruz Chapter. He began working with CALPIRG on the 100% renewables campaign during his freshman year and as the statewide coordinator of the campaign to ban bee-killing pesticides, he led the effort to get UCSC to stop using neonic pesticides on campus. He is now continuing his work as 100% renewable energy campaign coordinator at Santa Cruz and is pursuing a campus commitment to 100% renewable energy. As member of the Board Executive Committee, he organizes leadership conferences and trainings for our student leaders.

Our Staff

Kat Lockwood // Organizing Director

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Kat Lockwood is the Organizing Director for CALPIRG Students. Kat oversees our staff and programs at the University of California campuses, develops campaigns, and works with the student Board of Directors. Kat got started with CALPIRG in 2008 as a student leader at the UC Berkeley Chapter. She joined staff as the Campus Organizer at UC Santa Barbara in 2012, then took on the role of OSPIRG Organizing Director in Portland before rejoining the California team in her current role. Kat has run successful campaigns to ban plastic grocery bags to protect the Pacific Ocean, to defend global warming legislation at the ballot box from oil company attacks,  and to pass the landmark commitment to 100% clean electricity. Kat graduated from UC Berkeley with degrees in Political Science, Public Policy, and Society and Environment.

Megan Bart  //  Assistant Organizing Director

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Megan Bart is the Assistant Organizing Director for CALPIRG Students, based in Los Angeles. Megan got her start as a campus organizer for NJPIRG Students at Rutgers Camden in the fall of 2015 before moving to the CALPIRG team as the campus organizer at UC San Diego. Megan graduated from Allegheny College in 2015 with degrees in Communication and Media Studies. In New Jersey, Megan worked closely with student government and faculty to build statewide support for a grant-funded affordable textbook program for the Rutgers system that has saved students over $1 million since its launch in 2016. And in San Diego, Megan worked with UCSD students to pass a resolution in favor of banning bee-killing pesticides in La Jolla, CA. Megan works with our campuses in Southern California.

Emily Rusch // Executive Director

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State Director Emily Rusch has worked with U.S.PIRG, the federation of state PIRGs, since 2001. She’s represented CALPIRG on numerous issues in the legislature and co-authored research reports on transportation, energy, and tax and budget policies. Prior to joining CALPIRG’s staff, Emily worked for four years as New Jersey PIRG’s Energy Advocate, where she ran successful campaigns to require New Jersey’s power companies to increase clean, renewable energy like wind and solar power, and to pass legislation to set minimum energy efficiency standards for common products like air conditioners and traffic lights. Emily was born in San Gabriel and grew up in Culver City, California. She graduated from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, in 2001. She’s based in our Oakland office.

Dan Xie  // Political Director

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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.

Megan Anderson // Recruitment Director

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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.