UMass Boston

Mona Abo-Zena

Curriculum & Instruction
Assistant Professor
Wheatley Hall Floor 02

Area of Expertise

Religion and spirituality as intersectional dimensions of identity within children, families, and communities; Cultural funds of knowledge, family engagement, and teacher preparation; Equity-based perspectives on early childhood development in diverse contexts


PhD, Applied Child Development, Tufts University

EdM, Administration, Planning, and Social Policy, Harvard University

BA, Sociology, University of Chicago

Professional Publications & Contributions

Additional Information

Mona Abo-Zena is an assistant professor of Early Childhood Education and Development in the College of Education and Human Development. On individual, social, and structural levels, Professor Abo-Zena integrates research, theory, and practice to support the positive development of children and families with diverse experiences and backgrounds, and those who seek to support them. Her scholarship balances an asset-based perspective on diverse children, families, and communities while acknowledging contextual challenges. Her research focuses on the role of religion and religious and spiritual development (broadly defined) as a way of knowing and being and as a particular cultural fund of knowledge that affects learning and development. She locates religion within an intersectional framework that includes other dimensions of identity and social position, with a particular focus on minoritized communities. In addition, her scholarship investigates how home-to-school connections affect student engagement and ways to support pre- and in-service teachers' critical praxis and use of culturally responsive educational practices. Her work is informed by over 20 years of teaching, administrative, and board experiences in P-16 educational contexts.