Zena R. Mello, PhD
San Francisco State University
Research Interests: Instrument development, race, Risk taking
Zena R. Mello is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at UC San Francisco. She completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cognition and Development at the University of California, Berkeley, a Ph.D. and a M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from the Pennsylvania State University, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Institute for Education Sciences, and the American Educational Research Association, and been honored with an Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Human Development Division of the American Educational Research Association,. 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's research examines psychological factors that facilitate the well-being of racial or ethnic minority and low-income adolescents in important domains, such as academic achievement and risk-taking. She employs interdisciplinary perspectives and mixed-methods approaches to investigate two areas. First, she contributes toward the theory and measurement of time perspective, defined as thoughts and attitudes towards the past, the present, and the future. She has generated an instrument that has been translated into three languages and used in seven countries across four continents. Her work has showed how time perspective may predict developmental outcomes. Second, she examines topics specific to minority group membership including anticipated discrimination in educational and occupational attainment and stereotype threat. Her work informs prevention and intervention programs to promote healthy development in diverse populations.