Four Northeastern Law Students Awarded Prestigious Peggy Browning Fellowships

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06.08.20 — The Peggy Browning Fund has awarded 10-week summer fellowships to Huda Khwaja ’21, Liora Klepper ’21, MaryGrace Menner ’21 and Claudia Morera ’21. The application process is highly competitive and the awards were based on their outstanding qualifications.  Securing a Peggy Browning Fellowship is not an easy task, with over 400 applicants this year competing for the honor. Peggy Browning Fellows are distinguished students who have not only excelled in law school but who have also demonstrated their commitment to workers’ rights through their previous educational, work, volunteer and personal experiences.

Huda Khwaja ’21 will be a Peggy Browning Fellow at Segal Roitman in Boston. Khwaja is from Boston but spent middle school through college in Dallas and Atlanta. She was homeschooled for most of her life and graduated early as a result. At Agnes Scott College, she majored in history and human rights, focusing on social movements and Muslim minorities in the West. She was involved in organizing for immigration/refugees, economic justice and uplifting students of color and religious minorities on campuses. For the last 6 years, Khwaja has been a volunteer with the Muslim American Society, an organization focused on empowering and developing American Muslim youth. She also participates often in the US Council of Muslim Organizations as a lobbyist on Capitol Hill. Her interest in labor and employment started with a dedication to civil and human rights. Khwaja sees labor and employment law as a powerful way to secure the right to self-determination. She has completed a co-op at the Council for American-Islamic Relations - Massachusetts (CAIR-MA) working with the legal team on civil rights and liberties of Muslim residents in Massachusetts. 

Liora Klepper ’21 will also spend her fellowship at the Boston office of Segal Roitman. Klepper completed her undergraduate degree in sociology, during which she focused primarily on social and economic inequality. After her first year of law school, Klepper complated a co-op at Northeast Legal Aid in Lynn, Mass., where she represented low-income individuals and families in housing court evictions. Through that work she developed an understanding of the nexus between housing insecurity and employment issues, which, combined with nine years of experience in low-wage food service jobs, led her to commit to pursuing career advocating for the rights of workers. She is now an active member of the Northeastern Employment and Labor Law Association and she conducts research on employment law issues for a local nonprofit. She is currently on co-op as a full-time judicial intern for a federal judge in Massachusetts. 

MennerMaryGrace Menner ’21 will be this year’s Peggy Browning Fellow at Migrant Justice in Burlington, Vermont. Menner became interested in workers’ rights while living in Immokalee, a small farmworker town in Florida. In Immokalee, she worked in the immigration department of Legal Aid, where she witnessed the need for a multi-faceted approach to migrant workers’ rights, and she became involved with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. She continued her work at Metrowest Worker Center - Casa del Trabajador in Framingham, Massachusetts. At Casa, Menner advocated alongside a largely undocumented base of workers in low-wage, high-risk jobs like roofing and siding. In 2019, she was a Peggy Browning Fellow in the Employment Unit at Greater Boston Legal Services. She has also spent a co-op with the Honorable Indira Talwani at the Massachusetts District Court. She is interested in the ways labor and employment law can be used to advocate for effective social change and justice for marginalized communities. 

“I am humbled and proud to be awarded a Peggy Browning Fellowship with Migrant Justice,” said Menner. “I’m thankful to my PBF community, classmates, and NUSL professors for supporting workers’ rights in the form of labor and employment fellowships. This summer, I am excited to learn from the work of Migrant Justice to apply my legal skills and advocate alongside Vermont dairy farmworkers. Migrant Justice is a powerful organization of farmworkers and allies alike, pushing for the right to dignified work and freedom from workplace discrimination. They are a shining example of the fact that when we fight, we win. I am excited to complete my second Peggy Browning Fellowship and continue my education as a law student in solidarity with workers everywhere.”

MoreraClaudia Morera ’21 will spend her fellowship at Justice at Work in Boston. Morera was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and moved to Boston at the age of twelve. As an undergrad, she studied international relations and French literature. Before making the decision to attend law school, Claudia spent eighteen months doing Latino community organizing for the democratic party during the 2016 Presidential race. She then joined the Voto Latino team as their national organizing manager and worked to promote Latinx youth political and community engagement. Organizing in communities such as Denver, LasVegas and Fresno exposed Claudia to the different challenges faced by immigrant communities across this country. This further instilled in her a passion for advocating for marginalized immigrant communities. She finds that there’s nothing more empowering that dignity in work and hopes to collaborate with missions that seek to uplift marginalized communities by providing them with the resources and rights they are entitled to in order to be successful in the workforce. 

“I am incredibly privileged to be a part of the Peggy Browning Fellowship,” said Morera. “Now more than ever, workers are hurting and facing grave insecurity in the workplace - both on a physical and financial level. I find it paramount that we restore dignity in the workplace for all workers, especially within vulnerable immigrant communities. As an immigrant myself, I greatly empathize with the struggles immigrant workers face and feel fortunate that the Peggy Browning Fellowship has given me the resources to help through my internship at Justice at Work.”

About The Peggy Browning Fund

The Peggy Browning Fund is a not for-profit organization established in memory of Margaret A. Browning, a prominent union-side attorney who was a member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from 1994 until 1997. Peggy Browning Fellowships provide law students with unique, diverse and challenging work experiences fighting for social and economic justice. These experiences encourage and inspire students to pursue careers in public interest labor law.

About Northeastern University School of Law

The nation’s leader in experiential legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law offers the longest-running, most extensive experience-based legal education program in the country and is a national leader in legal education reform. Founded with cooperative legal education as the cornerstone of its program, Northeastern guarantees its students unparalleled practical legal work experiences. All students participate in full-time legal placements, and can choose from the more than 1,500 employers worldwide participating in the school’s signature Cooperative Legal Education Program. The future of legal education since 1968, Northeastern University School of Law blends theory and practice, providing students with a unique set of skills and experience to successfully practice law.

For more information, contact d.feldman@northeastern.edu.