Sarah Depaoli, Ph.D. – CV

Lab Director


My research interests are largely focused on issues surrounding Bayesian estimation of latent variable models. I have particular interests in estimation issues arising from nonlinear growth patterns over time. I am also interested in improving accuracy of uncovering unobserved (latent) groups of individuals. I am currently working with several students that are involved in research spanning a wide range of methodological topics (e.g., Bayesian estimation, latent class modeling, multilevel structural equation modeling, autocorrelation, nonlinear growth modeling, and class separation).

Currently acting as Associate Editor for: Multivariate Behavioral Research (2017-present) and Psychological Methods (2019-present)

Recipient of the 2020 Early Career Alumni Award, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Recipient of the 2015 Rising Star (Early Career) Award, Association for Psychological Sciences (Quantitative Psychology division).

Recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Dissertation Award, American Psychological Association, Division 5 (Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics).

Elected member of the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology.

For more information about the Quantitative Psychology Ph.D. program at UC Merced, please visit this site.

Current Graduate Students:

Luca Marvin – CV

Luca is a doctoral student in quantitative psychology at University of California, Merced since Fall 2019. His current research interests include Bayesian estimation and growth mixture modeling. Before moving to Merced, he received his B.A. in Psychology from Wilkes University and completed M.S. coursework in Quantitative Psychology at Illinois State University.

Ihnwhi Heo – CV

Ihnwhi is a doctoral student in Quantitative Methods, Measurement, and Statistics at the University of California, Merced from Fall 2021. His research primarily touches on diverse topics such as Bayesian statistics, structural equation modeling, longitudinal data analysis, and missing data analysis. Another line of interest also extends to hypothesis testing and metascience. His ultimate goal is to improve and develop research methods using the Bayesian framework. Before joining the Depaoli Lab, he received his M.Sc. in Methodology and Statistics for the Behavioural, Biomedical and Social Sciences (2021) at Utrecht University, the Netherlands, and B.A. in Psychology (2019) at Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea.

Prospective Ph.D. Students

Are you interested in being a doctoral student in Quantitative Methods, Measurement, and Statistics? Members of The Depaoli Lab learn about cutting edge techniques in the field, regularly present at (inter)national conferences, and publish in some of the top Quantitative journals. Contact Dr. Sarah Depaoli to learn more about opportunities to join!

Visiting Ph.D. Students

Sanne Smid, visiting PhD student in 2017 and 2018, Utrecht University, The NetherlandsSanne is a PhD student at the Methodology & Statistics department at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. She is visiting the Depaoli lab for two months in the Fall of 2017. Her research focuses on the use of Bayesian estimation with informative priors in latent growth models with small sample sizes. She is interested in how prior knowledge can be used to compensate for small sample sizes, and her goal is to develop clear guidelines for researchers who use Structural Equation Models and suffer from small data. The supervisors for her PhD project are Dr. Rens van de Schoot and Prof. Dr. Herbert Hoijtink (both from Utrecht University). In 2012, Sanne received her BSc. in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences and in 2014 her MSc. in Methodology and Statistics of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Utrecht University. Before starting as a PhD student, she worked for 1.5 years as a lecturer at the Methodology & Statistics department at Utrecht University, at which she taught various courses from bachelor to postgraduate level, and assisted in several research projects.

Inge Schrooten, visiting PhD student in 2016, Utrecht University, The Netherlands

  • Applying Bayesian Statistics in Developmental Psychology

Former Members of the Depaoli Lab

Marieke Visser, PhD in 2022. She is now a Data Scientist at ForsMarsh. Her current research interests include Bayesian estimation and structural equation modeling. Before moving to Merced, she received her B.A. in Psychology from Southwestern University and her M.A. in Psychological Research from Texas State University.


Sonja Winter, PhD in 2021, went on to be a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Missouri in the Prevention Sciences Institute.

Sonja joined the quantitative program at UC Merced in Fall 2016. She received her B.Sc. in Psychology (2011) and M.Sc. in Developmental Psychology (2013) at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Before joining UC Merced, she worked at the Methods and Statistics department of Utrecht University, focusing on structural equation modeling within a Bayesian framework. Her interests include Bayesian estimation, structural equation modeling, and analyzing development over time.


Patrice Cobb (Hazam) is now a Marketing Researcher at Meta. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Before coming to UC Merced she worked in Neuropsychiatry and Pharmacology laboratories at UC San DIego, investigating schizophrenia and the effects of oxytocin. Her current interests include, but are not limited to, modeling nonlinear data, Bayesian estimation, structural equation modeling and the analysis of neuroimaging data.

June Yang

Yuzhu (June) Yang, PhD in 2018, went on to be a Quantitative Researcher at Twitter, San Francisco, CA.

June joined the quantitative psychology doctoral program at UC Merced in Fall 2013. She studied under Dr. Sarah Depaoli, working on latent growth modeling, latent class analysis, and model averaging within the Bayesian framework. Before she moved to Merced, she studied at City University of New York and graduated with an M.S. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. June is originally from China.


John Felt, PhD in 2018, went on to be a postdoctoral fellow at Penn State, and he later became an Assistant Research Professor at the same institution. John began his doctoral studies in quantitative and health psychology in the Fall of 2013 where he worked under Dr. Sarah Depaoli and Dr. Jitske Tiemensma. He received his B.A. in psychology in 2011 from San Francisco State University and his M.A. in general-experimental psychology in 2013 from CSU-Northridge. His research interests include structural equation modeling, Bayesian estimation, and the interactions between hormones and behavior.


Sarah Scott, 2015 PhD in Health and Quantitative Psychology

Sarah entered into a doctoral retraining program in Clinical Psychology.