About Zena Mello
At SF State Since:
Zena R. Mello (she/her) 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 been awarded 2 million dollars in 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 is the 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 focuses on topics specific to marginalized group membership. In this area, she conducts community-engaged research with high schools to examine adolescents’ experiences with 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.
A second line of inquiry 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.
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San Francisco State University Psychology Department: https://psychology.sfsu.edu
Affiliated Research Groups: SOUL Lab
Health Equity Institute https://healthequity.sfsu.edu/our-team