Brenna Gomer is a second year graduate student in the quantitative psychology PhD program at the University of Notre Dame.
Under the mentorship of Dr. Ke-Hai Yuan, she broadly focuses on developing new statistical methodology that is useful for social scientists and works well for realistic data conditions. She is particularly interested in the structural equation modeling (SEM) framework and her current research is on developing effect size measures for SEM that do not rely on distributional assumptions such as Normality and are little affected by sample size and model size.
She also has a substantive interest in sleep and mood topics.
Brenna obtained her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Berkeley where she studied Psychology and Statistics. She volunteered at the Golden Bear Sleep and Mood Research Clinic as a research assistant in several roles: she was a study coordinator charged with overseeing sleep diary collection, an actigraphy team leader who cared for 16 actiwatches, a morning buddy who cheerfully administered experimental tasks at 6:00 am, and a screener/assessor who administered structured and semi-structured interviews to teen participants and their parents.
In the SRR program, she is collaborating with Qimin Liu on a website designed for social scientists that will improve their access to sophisticated methodology. Since many methodological advancements are published exclusively in technical journals, non-methodologists are often unaware of recent developments and their options for statistical analysis, and when they do know of new methodology they are often forced to wait for software to support the implementation of these methods.
The website she is developing with Qimin will have two components – the first component is a tutorial blog written by graduate students in methodological fields reviewed by established methodologists for accuracy and reviewed by graduate students in social sciences for understandability. The blog will introduce new methods, provide code for R (a free open-source program for statistical analysis), show complete examples, and offer exercises with solutions. The second component will be a forum for statistical users and methodologists to discuss research design, data problems, and what statistical analyses to run. For statistical users, this assistance improves their access to sophisticated statistical methods for their particular data and research question. For methodologists, bridging this gap increases awareness of current data problems and other statistical issues in social science fields and may inspire new avenues of inquiry.
In her spare time, she volunteers as a math tutor at a local adult high school. She is also dedicated to perfecting her baking technique of the French macaron, an elusive yet delicious pursuit.
As a religious tea drinker and connoisseur, she keeps at least 10 varieties of tea in stock in her pantry at all times and enjoys collecting Royal Albert tea ware. Despite these fine sensibilities, she is often seen toting free tea in a paper cup from the graduate student lounge.