Melissa Ann Cox
B.A. 1999, Political Science, Economics
When she arrived at The University of Tulsa, Melissa Ann Cox was a self-proclaimed “blank slate” with high hopes of successes that would later come to pass.
Thanks to TU’s rigorous coursework, supportive faculty, and social opportunities, Cox said she refined her direction and purpose. She returned to campus to speak as the 2011 TU Distinguished Alumna Lecturer in Law and Politics.
“The tools I’ve used to succeed came from TU,” she said. “My experiences here inspired my love of law and commitment to using it as a tool for social justice.”
At TU, Cox majored in political science and economics. She was a member of varsity crew, a Student Association senator, vice president of Delta Delta Delta, president of Mortar Board, a President’s Ambassador, and a participant in the Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge (TURC).
After she graduated from TU, Cox was an AmeriCorps Volunteer (1999-2000), a British Marshall Scholarship recipient (2001-02), and a research assistant/analyst at the Brookings Institution (2002-04). As a British Marshall Scholarship recipient, she earned a master’s degree in social policy and planning from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a master’s degree in economic and social history from Oxford University.
Cox went on to graduate from Yale Law School in 2007. She was an associate attorney in the Washington, D.C., office of Jenner & Block LLP from 2007 to 2009, where she focused on complex federal litigation and had an active pro bono practice in areas of capital defense, human trafficking, civil rights, and poverty law.
She served as a law clerk to U.S. District Judge Jack B. Weinstein from 2009 to 2010 and then as a law clerk to U.S. Circuit Judge Stephanie K. Seymour of the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.
Her father, Russell Cox (BS/BA ’66), guided his daughter to the small, friendly campus. Missy Cox credits faculty mentors such as Jeffrey Hockett (political science), Steve Steib (economics), and Sujeet Shenoi (TURC) with helping her hone her skills during her years at TU.
“As an undergraduate student, Melissa Cox was driven by a desire to make a difference in creating a more just world,” Steib said. “She fully appreciated the benefits of education in and of itself, and coupled that with her knowledge that education was a necessary credential to achieve the influence she was driven to achieve. The result of this balanced perspective was an exceptional student and human being.”
Hockett agreed. “Melissa’s professional success has been a consequence of a trait that she exhibited as an undergraduate, namely, an eagerness to seek out and exploit challenges and opportunities,” he said.