Our Team

Executive Board Members

Akshaya Balaji (she/her/hers)

Co-State Board Chair, [email protected]

Akshaya is the President and Board Chair for MaryPIRG Students. She is a junior at the University of Maryland, College Park pursuing dual degrees in Biology and Environmental Science and Technology on the pre-medicine track. Akshaya started with MaryPIRG in her freshman year, where she joined the Public Health Campaign, ran a week-long event on single-use plastics, and started the “Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics” campaign, where she convince Wendy’s to reduce antibiotic overuse in their beef supply chain, pushed for national legislation, and helped raise awareness in the local community. Akshaya became chair of the MaryPIRG board in her sophomore year and is excited to continue her work in the organization. Outside of MaryPIRG, Akshaya enjoys dancing, outdoor activities and spending time with friends and family.

Eleena Ghosh

Co-State Board Chair

Eleena is Co-State Board Chair for MaryPIRG Students. She is a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park studying Environmental Science and Policy, with a concentration in Environmental Anthropology. She first got involved with MaryPIRG last year, working to change the university’s mental health crisis response. She then became coordinator of the Public Health campaign, where she worked with Maryland PIRG directors to stop the use of PFAS in Maryland, and now, is one of the State Board Chairs. Outside of MaryPIRG, she enjoys reading, painting, and spending sunny days stretched out on some grass (but only when she’s not busy with schoolwork, of course).

Vagmi Luhar

Media and Visibility Chair

Vagmi is the Media and Visibility Chair for the State Board for MaryPIRG Student. She is a sophomore majoring in public health science with a minor in general business. She first joined MaryPIRG as an intern for the public health campaign. Her work helped contribute to the passing of the George Walter Taylor Act in the Maryland General Assembly which will help ban the use of toxic PFAS chemicals in the manufacturing of many products. In her free time, Vagmi enjoys spending time with friends and family, painting, dancing, and playing tennis.

Marie Kurtz

Treasurer and Secretary

Marie is the treasurer and secretary of MaryPIRG at the University of Maryland. She is currently a senior studying Public Policy. She began her work with MaryPIRG as an intern in her junior year, where she worked to fight climate change through the MaryPIRG Student Climate Action Coalition. As an intern, Marie experienced and began to understand the importance of student-led advocacy, especially on college campuses. She enjoys photography and likes to spend time with family, friends and her two cats!

Sophia D’Alonzo

Recruitment and Coalitions Chair

Sophia serves as Recruitment Chair and the Campaign Coordinator for 100% Renewable Energy at MaryPIRG. She is a Junior at the University of Maryland double majoring in Environmental Science & Policy and Political Communication. Outside of MaryPIRG, Sophia helped to found UMD Mutual Aid and works with PG Change Makers, a nonprofit focused on racial justice issues in Prince George’s County, MD. She began volunteering with MaryPIRG in her freshman year of college and has loved working with fellow passionate students to make real change in the community. When she isn’t busy with organizing and schoolwork, Sophia enjoys going to concerts, spending time outdoors, and hanging out with friends and her cat, Angus.