UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy


Jackie Genova

Jackie completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois, before graduating from STEaPP's MPA programme. She started her PhD at STEaPP in 2022.

Jackie Genova, PhD student, speaking at Forum
How did you come to realise you wanted to study for a PhD?

I became aware of plans to build new cities in around 40 countries across the Global South and in emerging economies, and recognised the opportunity that presents to embed gendered safety needs in the planning of public spaces at conception on a massive scale. I realised I wanted to study for a PhD when it became clear that a significant gap exists between research on women’s safety in public spaces and the actual practice of designing safer cities. 

I don’t think that gap should exist, and felt doctoral research was the best avenue for exploring how new cities can support future needs.

Why did you choose to undertake a PhD at UCL STEaPP?

The problems I hope to address through my work-- namely, how to reduce violence in public spaces and design safer transit environments -- require comprehensive, intersectional, and multidisciplinary policy solutions. 

I chose STEaPP twice (once for my MPA, and later for my PhD) because our department offers researchers the latitude to cross disciplinary boundaries as a standard practice in our work. This allows us to remain attentive to what other disciplines are saying, and ultimately produce more resilient, thoughtful and generally interesting research. 

What is the focus of your PhD?

Transport equity, violence prevention, and new cities. 

My research explores best practices for reducing gender violence and other forms of victimisation in urban transport settings, and how those practices may inform the design of public transport infrastructure in new city developments. 

Come find me if you have questions. This is my favourite thing to talk about.

What has been the highlight of your PhD so far?

The highlight of my PhD journey so far was the privilege of sharing research insights at UN Women's Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces Global Leaders' Forum in Quito, Ecuador last fall. I had the opportunity to contribute to important discussions on urban safety and gender equality, and learn from how cities around the world have approached preventing and responding to violence against women and girls. 

What are your future plans/aspirations?

I hope to continue contributing to urban development and policy-making efforts that prioritise women's safety and mobility. My goal is to ensure new city developments integrate best practices for reducing women's victimisation in urban transport settings, ultimately creating safer and more inclusive cities for everyone.

Do you have a mentor/role model who has inspired you?

Absolutely! Dr. Jenny McArthur, my supervisor, has been an absolute inspiration during my time at STEaPP. She has an innate ability to transform overwhelming problems into calm and manageable steps, and can intuit (with extraordinary precision) what students need to bring about their most thoughtful and creative work. It’s a superpower she wields generously. She’s one of those rare people who naturally elevate everyone around them, and I feel constantly grateful for her guidance and support. 

What advice would you give to future PhD students?


If you’ve wondered how researchers with seemingly no time stay current on journal articles/research findings, funding opportunities, conferences, calls for papers, etc. -- the secret is mailing lists. It sounds mundane, but signing up for a few lists in your areas of interest will save you an unbelievable amount of time. 

For prospective students: join lists ~1 year before you plan to start so you’ll hear about funded opportunities as they become available. 

This is the link: https://jiscmail.ac.uk/advancedsearch.html