Mona Abo-Zena 
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow 

Program/Areas of Interest

Religion / spirituality, cultural aspects of learning and development, home-to-school connections, immigrant-origin youth, preparation of pre-service teachers to work with culturally diverse students and families

Biographical Summary

Mona earned her B.A. in sociology from the University of Chicago, her Ed.M. from Harvard University, and her Ph.D. from Tufts University. Her work focuses on the role of religion and religious / spiritual development (broadly defined) as a way of knowing and being; she explores how this developmental context interfaces with scientific reasoning and evidence and performance in STEM subjects. In addition, her research investigates how aspects of the home-to-school connection affects student performance and development (e.g., linguistic competence, explicit and high expectations), which also informs her development and assessment of projects to support pre- and in-service teachers' use of culturally relevant educational practices. Mona's scholarship includes teaching undergraduate and graduate students in departments of education and psychology. Mona's work is informed by over fifteen years of teaching, administrative, and board experience in public and Islamic schools.

Selected Publications

  • Methodological Note: On Using Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) for Survey Administration Mona Abo-Zena, A.E.A. Warren, S.S. Isaac, D. Du, E. Phelps, R.M. Lerner, and R.W. Roeser (2009) Journal of Youth Development: Bridging Research and Practice, 4(3) . 1-5.
  • "The Fun Thing About Studying Different Beliefs is That They are Different": Kindergartners Explore Spirituality B. Mardell and Mona Abo-Zena (2010) Young Child . July, 12-17.
  • Faith from the Fringes: Religious Minorities in School Mona Abo-Zena(2011) Phi Delta Kappan, 93(4) : 15-19.
  • Sampling and Retention of Underrepresented Groups Mona Abo-Zena ; N.J. Salkind (ed.) (2010) Encyclopedia of Research Design . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Testing the Courage of Their Convictions: Muslim Youth Respond to Stereotyping, Hostility, and Discrimination Mona Abo-Zena, B. Sahli, and C. Tobias-Nahi ; Ö. Sensoy and C.D. Stonebanks (eds.) (2012) Muslim voices in school: Narratives of identity and pluralism, 2nd Edition . Rotterdam, Netherlands: Sense Publishers.


Phi Delta Kappa, American Psychological Association, Society for Research on Adolescence, National Association for the Education of Young Children, Society for Research on Child Development, Society for Research on Identity Formation, Society for the Study of Human Development, Association for Psychological Sciences


Co-author of “The fun thing about studying different beliefs is that they are different: Kindergartners explore spirituality” published in Young Children and recipient of a 2011 GOLD Excel Award by the Association Media and Publishing; Contributing author to the edited volume Muslim voices in school: Narratives of identity and pluralism, Ö. Sensoy and C.D. Stonebanks (Eds.), recipient of the National Association for Multicultural Education's 2010 Philip C. Chinn Multicultural Book Award; Phi Delta Kappa Emerging Leader Award (Class of 2010-2011); Undergraduate Teaching Award, Tufts University (2009)