Sarah Depaoli, Ph.D.

Professor of Quantitative Methods, Measurement & Statistics


Dr. Sarah Depaoli is Professor of Quantitative Methods, Measurement & Statistics at the University of California, Merced. She received her Ph.D. in 2010 in Quantitative Methods (minor: Mathematical Statistics) from University of Wisconsin, Madison. Prior to that, she obtained a B.A. in Psychology (2003) and M.A. in Quantitative Psychology (2007) from California State University, Sacramento. She is an elected member since 2016 of the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology (capped at 65 active members world-wide).

Dr. Depaoli teaches undergraduate statistics and a variety of graduate courses in quantitative methods. Her research interests include examining different facets of Bayesian estimation for latent variable, growth, and finite mixture models. She has a continued interest in the influence of prior distributions and robustness of results under different prior specifications, as well as issues tied to latent class separation. Her recent research has focused on using Bayesian semi- and non-parametric methods for obtaining proper class enumeration and assignment, examining parameterization issues within Bayesian SEM, and studying the impact of priors on longitudinal models.

Finally, Dr. Depaoli has served the field in a variety of ways, including as Associate Editor for: Multivariate Behavioral Research (2017-present), Psychological Methods (2018-present), and Journal of the Royal Statistical Society--Series A (2022-present).


Current Graduate Students


Luca Marvin

Graduate Student


Luca Marvin

Luca is a PhD Candidate at UC Merced advised by Dr. Sarah Depaoli and Dr. Haiyan Liu. He received a B.A. in Psychology (with additional Statistics coursework) at Wilkes University in 2017 and completed a dual-sequence M.S. in Quantitative Psychology (with a second focus in I/O-Social Psychology) at Illinois State University in 2019. In his previous collaborations with applied researchers, he has used his skills to scrape and analyze Twitter posts, examine predictors of women’s scores on math tests, and explore mechanisms involved in activist behavior. His current methodological work uses Monte Carlo simulations to evaluate methods of detecting misspecification in multiphase growth mixture models. His expertise includes longitudinal data analysis, structural equation modeling, Bayesian methods, and data visualization.

Ihnwhi Heo

Graduate Student


Ihnwhi is a psychological methodologist and statistician currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Quantitative Methods, Measurement, and Statistics at the University of California, Merced since 2021. He holds an M.Sc. in Methodology and Statistics for the Behavioural, Biomedical and Social Sciences (2021, Cum Laude) from Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Prior to that, he earned a B.A. in Psychology (2019, Highest Honors) from Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea.

Ihnwhi firmly believes that scientific discovery is a dynamic process driven by the continuous updating of scientific knowledge through experiential learning. This perspective aligns closely with the philosophical paradigm of Bayesian inference. Ihnwhi’s program of research centers on the development and evaluation of Bayesian methodology for theory construction and statistical modeling in the field of psychological sciences. His expertise lies in Bayesian statistics, structural equation modeling, and longitudinal modeling. His projects address methodological issues surrounding model estimation, model evaluation, hypothesis testing, and missing data. In addition, Ihnwhi is dedicated to the dissemination of quantitative methods to applied researchers and has published tutorials on statistical software such as R, JASP, and jamovi.

Finally, Ihnwhi possesses a discerning palate and finds immense gratification in immersing himself in the world of gastronomy, embracing the harmonious symphony of flavors while savoring the nuanced profiles of various beers. In fact, some paragraphs of his papers were written while savoring, for instance, sashimi and wheat beer, which are Ihnwhi’s favorites. As an innate insatiable wanderlust, he yearns to explore new travel destinations, finding inspiration for research amidst moments of profound intellectual illumination. His unforgettable places include the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Iceland. If you have any recommendations for tantalizing cuisines, intriguing beers, captivating locales, or potential research collaborations that align with Ihnwhi’s passions, please feel free to reach out and connect with him.

Madelin Jauregui

Graduate Student


Madelin is a graduate student of Quantitative Psychology at the University of California, Merced. Holding a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Universidad de La Sabana, Colombia, and a Master's degree in Psychology from KU Leuven, Belgium, she has cultivated a deep enthusiasm for quantitative research and its potential to contribute to the field. Her primary interests revolve around developing advanced statistical techniques—particularly in the analysis of longitudinal data using structural equation and multilevel models—and implementing machine learning methods in psychological research.

David Obando

Graduate Student



David is a graduate student at the University of California, Merced, studying Quantitative Psychology under the direction of Dr. Sarah Depaoli and Dr. Keke Lai (University of Houston). Prior to his doctoral training, he earned a B.S. in Marketing/Consumer Behavior (2019) and M.A. in Social Psychology (2023) from San Francisco State University. His interest in quantitative research started during his undergraduate education where research design and data analytics were introduced. David’s interest in quantitative psychology was solidified during his graduate work, primarily in psychological research and applied statistics. This experience has led to his current quantitative interest in structural equation modeling and Bayesian statistics. 


Former Graduate Students


Marieke Visser

Data scientist at ForsMarsh

Sonja Winter

Assistant Professor at University of Missouri

Patrice Cobb

Data scientist at Meta

John M. Felt

Assistant Research Professor at Penn State

Yuzhu (June) Yang

Data scientist at Twitter

James P. Clifton

Career Education Research Analyst, MiraCosta College

Sarah Scott

Entered doctoral retraining program for clinical psychology after obtaining her Ph.D.


Visiting International Graduate Students


Sanne Smid

Utrecht University, The Netherlands

Inge (Schrooten) Zweers

Utrecht University, The Netherlands