About Zena Mello






PsychologyCollege of Science and Engineering


Ethnic Studies and Psychology Building (EP)


Office Hours: 

Thursday: 1:00 pm-3:00 pm

Office Hours (Additional Info): 

Dr. Mello's Office Hours are open to current and former students or the public. Zoom link: https://sfsu.zoom.us/j/84967096938?pwd=ejZvaUZEOGp4S1BRUUZoZGhpb0VuZz09


At SF State Since:



Zena R. Mello is a first-generation college student and a 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; a B.A. in Psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz; and an A.A. at Santa Rosa Junior College. 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 and well-being of adolescents who are marginalized because of racial, ethnic, gender, or social class backgrounds. She uses interdisciplinary perspectives and mixed-methods approaches to investigate two areas. First, she contributes toward the theory and measurement of time perspective, as a mechanism to foster resilience. This construct refers to thoughts and feelings about the past, the present, and the future. She has generated scales of time perspective for adolescents and adults that have been translated into more than a dozen languages. Her work shows how time perspective predicts key developmental outcomes, including academic achievement, substance use, and mental health.


A second line of inquiry focuses on topics specific to marginalized group membership. In this area, she conducts community-engaged research with high schools to examine how adolescents’ perceive discrimination based on multiple identities, including race/ethnicity, immigration, skin color/tone, gender, and social class. She is particularly interested in how such experiences predict risky behaviors, including tobacco use. This work is based on her prior studies that showed how anticipated barriers to schooling were salient among females and how stereotype threat was prominent among Native American adolescents.



Postdoctoral Fellowship, San Francisco State University

One-year position (possibility of extension) funded by the Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program for a mixed-method project to examine perceived discrimination based on race/ethnicity, gender, and social class, and tobacco use among high school students. Position includes quantitative analyses, preparation of publications and conference presentations, mentoring graduate and undergraduate lab members, community engagement, and data collection. This is a full-time position with benefits. Start date is planned for June 2023. Review begins immediately; those interested should email a cover letter that includes career goals and research interests, CV, and the names of three references to Dr. Zena R. Mello (zmello@sfsu.edu).



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).



Social Media:

Twitter: @ZenaRMello #MelloTimeLab

Facebook: Zena Mello

LinkedIn: Zena Mello

Google Scholar: Zena Mello

My Bibliography: Zena Mello

ResearchGate: Zena R. Mello



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

Affiliated Research Groups: SOUL Lab