University News

Western New England University Law Student Emily Luna Awarded Peggy Browning Fellowship for Summer 2023

Published: June 15, 2023 | Categories: All News, Law
Emily Luna at fellowship in Las Vegas

Western New England School of Law Interim Dean Beth Cohen is proud to announce that law student Emily Luna (J.D. candidate, 2024), has been awarded the highly competitive Peggy Browning Fellowship for the Summer of 2023. The Peggy Browning Fellowship is awarded to exceptional law students who demonstrate a dual interest in direct service and policy intervention. Luna's selection is a testament to her exceptional dedication and passion for advancing workers' rights. Luna is one of over 105 law students accepted into the nationwide fellowship program with more than 550 applicants competing for this honor.

This year, Luna has been granted the opportunity to work with the Arriba Las Vegas Worker Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Arriba Las Vegas Worker Center is an organization committed to empowering and organizing day laborers, domestic workers, and low-wage immigrant workers in Nevada. The center focuses on advocating for equality, economic justice, and social and political inclusion.

Luna grew up in Manchester, CT, and is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. She is a first-generation college and law student. She graduated from UConn with a bachelor's degree in Political Science and a minor in Latin American Studies. Before law school, Luna worked in the Connecticut General Assembly and with the Lt. Governor's Office. She also was the first Mexican American elected to the Manchester Board of Education and was fortunate to have received the endorsement and support from several local unions. In law school, Luna serves as the Vice President of the Latinx Law Student Association and Sports and Entertainment Association. This past summer, she interned at the CT Attorney General's Office.

"I am grateful to be a part of the Peggy Browning Fellowship Program and excited to expand my knowledge of labor law, learn more about advancing immigrant workers' rights through community organizing and collective action this summer," said Luna. "I'm thankful for the support I received from my professors at Western New England University School of Law as I pursue opportunities in public interest law."

Luna's fellowship will be conducted in collaboration with the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, where she will contribute to the DALE campaign (Deferred Action for Labor Enforcement/Desde Abajo Labor Enforcement). This initiative aims to protect immigrant workers who report labor abuses by advocating for deferred action for immigrant worker whistleblowers. By working to address the challenges faced by immigrant workers who experience threats and retaliation from employers and ICE, Luna's fellowship will contribute to creating a more just and inclusive workplace.

Interim Dean Beth Cohen expressed her enthusiasm for Luna's achievement, stating, "We are extremely proud of Emily for being selected as a Peggy Browning Fellow. Her dedication to workers' rights and commitment to advancing the cause of social justice is truly inspiring. Emily's participation in this fellowship will not only provide her with valuable hands-on experience but also allow her to make a meaningful impact in the lives of immigrant workers. We congratulate her on this well-deserved opportunity."

Law Professors Harris Freeman and Claudia Quintero, who guided and supported Luna throughout the application process, also commended her accomplishments. Professor Freeman remarked, "Emily brings a wealth of lived experience and a strong academic record to her well-deserved receipt of a Peggy Browning fellowship. Emily has a strong understanding of workplace rights and a deep understanding of the challenges facing immigrants employed in the low wage workforce. I have no doubt that she will excel as a Peggy Browning Fellow and make a vital contribution to the important work of the Arriba Las Vegas Worker Center."

Professor Quintero added, "Emily's dedication to immigrants' rights and public interest law is truly inspiring. Her selection for the Peggy Browning Fellowship is a testament to her talent and commitment. We are proud to have been a part of her journey and are excited to see her make a difference through this fellowship and make the WNE Law name known across the country."

The Peggy Browning Fund is a nonprofit organization established in memory of Margaret A. Browning, prominent labor attorney and Member of the National Labor Relations Board. The mission of the Peggy Browning Fund is to educate and inspire the next generation of advocates for workplace justice.