Four Northeastern Law Students Awarded Prestigious Peggy Browning Fellowships


pfb05.28.19 — The Peggy Browning Fund has awarded 10-week summer fellowships to Alaina Gilchrist ’20, Sean Hansen ’21 MaryGrace Menner ’21 and Kimberly Rodriguez ’21. The application process is highly competitive and the awards were based on their outstanding qualifications. In 2019, the Peggy Browning Fund will support at least 80 public interest labor law fellowships nationwide. 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.

GilchrestAlaina Gilchrist ’20 will spend her fellowship working at at AFL-CIO in Washington, DC. The daughter of a union janitor, Alaina began her organizing career at the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative (MVOC) in Youngstown, OH. At MVOC, she engaged in grassroots and top-roots organizing to address issues related to vacant properties that were left behind from the collapse of the steel industry. Alaina started working for organized labor when the MVOC partnered with SEIU on their Fight for a Fair Economy campaign. Most recently, she served as a field representative for SEIU 32BJ where she organized workers around contract campaigns and represented them at the bargaining table. Last summer, Alaina was a Peggy Browning Fellow at Gilbert & Sackman, and she completed an externship this winter on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Sean Hansen ’21 will spend his fellowship at the International Labor Rights Forum in Washington, DC. Sean  was raised in a progressive family who taught him the value of hard work, the importance of community and the perseverance to organize for change. As an undergraduate at Northeastern, Sean co-founded Huskies Organizing With Labor to support workers’ rights on campus, helping to organize dining hall workers and adjunct faculty. He also helped lead a successful campaign to force Northeastern to cut its contract with Adidas over labor rights violations in Indonesia. Sean has worked extensively on initiatives to support peace, justice and reconciliation in Ireland and Israel/Palestine. Before returning to Northeastern for law school, Sean worked for three years at Roca, Inc, an organization dedicated to ending the cycle of mass incarceration through building transformative relationships with high risk youth in Lynn, Massachusetts. Sean is currently an organizer with the Graduate Employees of Northeastern University-UAW and is active in his school's National Lawyers Guild chapter

MaryGrace Menner ’21 will be this year’s Peggy Browning Fellow at Greater Boston Legal Services in Boston, MA. MaryGrace became interested in workers’ rights after 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. She continued her work at Metrowest Worker Center - Casa del Trabajador in Framingham, Massachusetts. At Casa, MaryGrace advocated for a largely undocumented base of workers in low-wage, high-risk jobs like roofing and siding. She is interested in the ways labor and employment law can be used to advocate for effective social change and justice for marginalized communities.

Kimberly Rodriguez ’21 will spend her fellowship at Make the Road New York in New York, NY. Kimberly is the daughter of immigrants and grew up in Jackson Heights, Queens, NY. Prior to law school, she worked in immigration and LGBTQ advocacy and organizing and co-founded a non-profit that gave scholarships to undocumented students. Kimberly has also worked as a bartender, a high-end watch salesperson, in accounting at a tech startup, and on political campaigns throughout NYC. More recently, she was a legal administrative assistant at United Spinal Association, a disability rights and advocacy organization. There, she was part of organizing wheelchair users to lobby for their rights on Capitol Hill. At law school, Kimberly is actively involved in LALSA, International Refugee Assistance Project, and National Lawyers Guild. She is interested domestic workers' rights and farmworkers' rights and particularly in the intersections of workers’ rights, gender identity, race, and immigration status.

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.

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