Faith Zabek earned a Ph.D. in school psychology from Georgia State University, where she studied school climate and positive youth development. During her tenure at Georgia State, she was a College of Education and Human Development Dean’s Doctoral Fellow and received a Department of Counseling and Psychological Services Outstanding Dissertation Award. She is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, and, after completing her predoctoral internship at the APA-accredited Hawaii Psychology Internship Consortium, she continued to support student mental health and wellbeing as a school-based practitioner with the Hawaiʻi Department of Education. She is active in professional service and advocacy, having served both as the Student Representative to the National Association of School Psychologists’ Government and Professional Relations Committee and as the President of the Hawaiʻi Association of School Psychologists.
She applies her experience working in schools and across systems to her research initiatives. Using both quantitative and qualitative approaches, her research investigates student wellbeing through a bioecological lens, with a focus on social justice and equitable measurement. With her colleagues at Georgia State, she developed and implemented culturally responsive curriculums to promote healthy relationships and critical systems thinking among Black middle school youth in underserved communities. She utilized the participatory culture–specific intervention model to increase the resonance and effectiveness of the programs by incorporating stakeholder participation and local values into intervention efforts. She also conducts research that more broadly explores the impact of organizational systems and policies on youth development and equity. Using multilevel invariance testing procedures, her dissertation investigated whether school climate surveys, which are increasingly utilized as indicators of school quality within state accountability systems, measure climate equitably for schools that serve underrepresented populations. With her colleagues at Youth-Nex, she supports the research initiatives of both the Virginia Partnership for School Mental Health and the Remaking Middle School project.