NC REN Leadership
Emily Coward is a member of the School of Government’s Public Defense Education group and serves as the Project Attorney for the NC Racial Equity Network, formed in 2015. Coward received the Margaret Taylor Writing Award in 2015 for her work on Raising Issues of Race in North Carolina Criminal Cases. In recognition of her work on issues of race and criminal justice, she received the James E. Williams award in 2016 from the North Carolina Public Defenders Association. Before joining the School in 2012, Coward served as a law clerk for Judge James Robertson of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia from 2006 to 2008 and for Justice Thembile Skweyiya of the Constitutional Court of South Africa in 2009. From 2009 to 2011, she represented clients in civil and post-conviction matters as a staff attorney with North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services. She earned a BA from Oberlin College and a JD magna cum laude from Duke University School of Law.
John Rubin is the Principal Investigator for NC REN. He is the Albert Coates Professor of Public Law and Government at the UNC School of Government and the founder of the Public Defense Education Group. John Rubin joined the School of Government in 1991. He previously practiced law for nine years in Washington, DC, and Los Angeles. At the School, he specializes in criminal law and indigent defense education. He has written several articles and books on criminal law; teaches and consults with judges, prosecutors, public defenders, and other officials in the criminal justice system; and manages the School’s indigent defense education program. He is a frequent consultant to the Office of Indigent Defense Services, which is responsible for overseeing and enhancing legal representation for indigent defendants and others entitled to counsel under North Carolina law. In 2008, he was awarded a two-year distinguished professorship for faculty excellence. In 2012, he was named Albert Coates Professor of Public Law and Government. Rubin earned a BA from the University of California at Berkeley and a JD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Monica Yelverton is the Project Manager for NC REN. She is the Associate Director of Programs and Services for Public Defense Education. Monica is responsible for managing the operations of the Indigent Defense Education group, including overseeing the delivery of current programs and services, supervising administrative support, budgeting, assessing the feasibility of new educational initiatives, and managing new revenue streams. Monica joined the School of Government in 2015 as continuing education coordinator for indigent defense education. Previously, she analyzed occupational employment statistics as a social/clinical research assistant at the North Carolina Department of Commerce. Prior to that, she was a special assistant in the governor’s office and a research assistant at the North Carolina General Assembly. Yelverton earned a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MPA from North Carolina Central University.