Jessica Murray

Human Development, CUNY Graduate Center

Month: March 2014

Thesis Study: Work-Life Quality for People with Mobility Disability Living in New York City

How does mobility disability impact your life? I’m looking for people between the ages of 18-64, who are currently working (part-time, full-time, or self-employed) or looking for work, and have severe difficulty walking or climbing stairs. If participants live with a significant other, their partner will also be invited to participate. Members of the study will be asked for a 60-90 minute interview about transportation, home and work environments. Participants will be paid $40 at the completion of the interview. 

If you are interested in sharing your experience, please contact Jessica Murray by phone: 214-454-6298 or email: Interviews will be conducted until July 11, 2014. 

Privacy and confidentiality will be ensured by removing identifiable information from notes, transcripts and the final analysis. More details here: Adult Consent. I also welcome comments and suggestions, which can be posted below, or sent to

A long-time interest  of mine is the psychological impact of different commute modes, and the ways in which the experience of the commute spills over into work and home domains. The day in, day out experience of getting to work deserves more attention, because it can have a huge impact on overall quality of life. During the course of researching this topic for a class I took at the Graduate Center last spring, Critical Social Environmental Policy, I realized that mode choice in New York City is very limited for people with mobility disabilities. As I started digging into the transportation policy issues impacting people with mobility disabilities, I also discovered disparities in accessibility in the other areas of life that interest me; work and home. While these problems are big, they’re not insurmountable, but it seems there is a lack of political will to tackle them. The people most impacted typically don’t have the fiscal power needed to hold businesses, building developers, or transportation entities accountable. I outlined many of these topics in my final paper for the course,  Issues Impacting Work Life Quality for People with Mobility Limitations Living in NYC.

I’m currently expanding this paper for my thesis, to include details about the unfolding victory for taxi accessibility, and to include the latest census numbers. More importantly, I want to hear some different perspectives on the real impact of the built environment on quality of life, and hear what kinds of policy ideas could improve home, work , and transportation environments for people with a mobility disability. My goal is to explore a variety of experiences, see how people view environmental limitations, and see what policy areas have the greatest real impact.


Green Again

I think the news that I’ve been accepted into the Human Development doctoral program has finally sunk in. The path has been an interesting journey, and not the typical track most academics take. I feel like I’m totally green again, starting on a huge new endeavor, eager to gain new experiences. When I worked as a designer, getting a job in advertising was a sensible step that led to better wages, but also less life satisfaction. After a few years of working in New York City, I started thinking more about the things around work and home satisfaction, the political and environmental forces that shape our day-to-day existence. When I decided to leave my last job, I knew I wouldn’t be happy to get another advertising job, and I made a huge, improbable leap to apply for a PhD program at CUNY. I was not successful in this endeavor, but I got a second chance with the MALS program, and an opportunity to really see what is expected of doctoral students (hint, it was not what I thought in 2012). The courses I’ve taken in the past two years in the Psychology of Work and Family MALS track, and in the Human Development and Environmental Psychology programs have allowed me to take an interdisciplinary approach to studying psychology, one that I hope to carry with me in the years ahead.

I am thankful to so many people who have influenced my graduate work so far; Les Gribben for suggesting the MALS program, Karen Lyness and Kristen Shockley, who taught me why Work-Life issues matter so much, David Chapin for showing me the connection between mobility and (un)supportive environments, John Seley for getting me hooked on local politics and advising my thesis , Susan Saegert for giving me a better understanding of what research is and how to do it, and Colette Daiute for opening my eyes to the big picture beyond New York. I also want to thank all the wonderful students and scholars I’ve met in the developmental, environmental and critical social/personality programs, I look forward to our future development and friendships.

© 2017 Jessica Murray

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