About Zena Mello




Associate Professor


PsychologyCollege of Science and Engineering


Ethnic Studies and Psychology Building (EP)


Office Hours: 

Thursday: 11:00 am-1:00 pm

Office Hours (Additional Info): 



At SF State Since:



Zena R. Mello is a first-generation college student and an Associate Professor of Psychology. She completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cognition and Development at the University of California, Berkeley; a Ph.D. and an M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies at the Pennsylvania State University; and a B.A. in Psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Dr. Mello has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Institute for Education Sciences, the American Educational Research Association, and the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program. She has been honored with the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Human Development Division of the American Educational Research Association, and she has served on the Executive Councils of the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development and the Society for Research on Adolescence. Dr. Mello currently serves as Assistant Editor for the Journal of Adolescence and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology and the International Journal of Behavioral Development.



Dr. Mello's research examines psychological factors that facilitate the health of racial or ethnic minority, female, and low-income adolescents. She uses interdisciplinary perspectives and mixed-methods approaches to investigate two areas. First, she contributes toward the theory and measurement of time perspective. This construct is defined as thoughts and feelings about the past, the present, and the future. She has generated scales of time perspective for adolescents that have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Her work shows how time perspective predicts developmental outcomes, including academic achievement, substance use, physical activity, and mental health. Second, she examines topics specific to minority group membership, including perceived discrimination based on race/ethnicity, gender, and social class, stereotype threat, and anticipated barriers to schooling and work. Her works seek to inform prevention and intervention programs that promote the healthy development of diverse adolescents.



Students are actively involved in Dr. Mello's research. She works closely with undergraduate and graduate students to facilitate their professional and scholarly development. Students complete Honors and Master's theses and are frequently co-authors on presentations and publications. Other activities with students include research assistance with data collection and analyses as well as teaching assistant positions. Dr. Mello regularly teaches courses on Adolescent Development (PSY 430) and Race/Ethnicity (PSY 891).

*Dr. Mello is accepting 2-3 students for the 2022-2023 academic year.


Social Media:

Twitter: @ZenaRMello #MelloTimeLab

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ResearchGate: Zena R. Mello



San Francisco State University Psychology Department: https://psychology.sfsu.edu

Affiliated Research Groups: SOUL Lab