Ben McDonald ’25 and Anushka Sarkar ’25 Awarded Prestigious Peggy Browning Fellowships


The Peggy Browning Fund has awarded fellowships to Ben McDonald ’25 and Anushka Sarkar ’25. The application process is highly competitive, and the award is a tribute to their outstanding qualifications.

With more than 550 applicants competing for the honor this year, the Peggy Browning Fund accepted over 105 law students into its nationwide fellowship program—the largest cohort in its history. These fellows, according to the Fund, 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, organizing, work, volunteer, and personal experiences. The mission of the Fund is to “educate and inspire the next generation of law students to become advocates for workplace justice.”

McDonald is working at Make the Road NJ in Elizabeth, NJ, this summer. Prior to law school, he was a jazz pianist, composer, and music educator. McDonald graduated from the University of North Texas in 2016 with a B.M. in Jazz Studies and a B.A. in creative writing. Since then, he has performed in venues across the nation and in China. After moving to New York City in 2018 to pursue his jazz career, McDonald began working in the service industry to subsidize his income. Here is where he developed his passion for labor rights advocacy. Most recently, McDonald advocated for his co-workers to receive COVID-19 sick pay after discovering the company was non-compliant with state mandates. He looks forward to using the knowledge and skills acquired through the Peggy Browning Fellowship Program to continue championing the labor movement in the hopes of creating a more democratic workplace.

Sarkar, a Stein Scholar, is working at Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs in Washington, D.C. Passionate about workers’ rights, she is particularly interested in impact litigation related to wage theft, discrimination, and workplace harassment. Before attending law school, Sarkar worked for several economic justice and democracy campaigns. She spent the summer before law school as an Urban Leaders Fellow with the D.C. Justice Lab, drafting legislation addressing police power and the school-to-prison pipeline. Sarkar has organized with multiple unions, published op-eds on democracy issues ranging from state voting rights legislation to U.S. Supreme Court expansion, and led national polling efforts to understand Americans’ perspectives on hot-button issues. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where she served as student body president during her senior year. Sarkar is eager to learn from the attorneys and organizers at the Washington Lawyers’ Committee on Civil Rights and Urban Affairs about ways to advance workers’ rights this summer.


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