She completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Cognition and Development at the University of California, Berkeley, a M.S. and Ph.D. 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, and the American Educational Research Association. She has also been honored with an Outstanding Dissertation Award and Volunteer of the Year designation, and appointed to the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development as the Young Scholar Representative. Dr. Mello's research focuses on factors that promote well-being in racial/ethnic minority and low-socioeconomic status (SES) adolescents, with an emphasis on (a) time perspective, a cognitive-motivational concept that comprises thoughts and attitudes toward the past, the present, and the future and (b) perceptions of barriers to school and work given demographic group membership. She employs qualitative and quantitative methodologies to address the following research questions: How do adolescents' perspectives on time promote healthy decisions and behaviors toward school and work? How may time perspective be measured reliably and validly? How are adolescents in the United States, Chile, and Germany similar or different from one another in time perspective? How do adolescents' perceptions of barriers to school and work due to SES, racial/ethnic, and gender contribute toward academic outcomes?