Photo of Me

I am a data scientist with a background in quantitative social science and policy research, specialized in Bayesian statistics and various approaches to causal inference. I currently work as a Senior Data Research Scientist at Covered California, where my research supports Covered California’s efforts to provide quality healthcare and improve health care outcomes for all Californians. I use frequentist and Bayesian methods, including observational and (quasi-)experimental study designs, A/B tests and predictive modeling, to find new opportunities to reach Californians and increase equity.

My background is in anthropology. In 2023 I completed my PhD at UCLA, where I led a 6-year collaborative research program using Bayesian multilevel regression modeling, machine learning and various approaches to causal inference to test the efficacy of US public policy solutions to gender-based income inequality. For example, in one study I quantified the gender gap in US parents’ loss of income after having a first child, and tested how state-level family leave policies affect this ‘child penalty’. As an anthropologist I learned to connect quantitative data to real human experiences and develop nuanced data-driven stories that inform policy.

You can download my full resume here.



Social inequality and policy

In the last year of grad school I focused on applying my anthropological background to studying the actual and potential impact of social policies on people’s lives. For example, in one study I examined the US 'child penalty': the earnings parents - especially mothers - lose after having a first child. As a research fellow at the WORLD Policy Analysis Center I evaluated the impact of disability policies on the economic situation of people with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries.

Behavioral ecology

My formal graduate education is in behavioral ecology. This field seeks to use evolutionary theory to explain and predict how individual-level and population-wide socio-ecological factors have shaped human evolution and shape people’s behavior. My dissertation research is focused on issues regarding social norms and gender inequality, such as on changing norms regarding maternal health and infant care among women in rural Namibia, and gender inequality in temporal income dynamics when parents have a first child.




Using the rigorous training in multi-variate regression I received at UCLA, I sought out my own education in Bayesian statistics for the social sciences. There are so many amazing resources that exist for this online! I learned the basics of Bayesian inference through Richard McElreath's online course Statistical Rethinking and further built on this knowledge using online sources such as Bayes Rules! by Alicia Johnson, Miles Ott and Mine Dogucu, Andrew Heiss' blog, and Causal Inference: the Mixed tape from Scott Cunningham.

Data visualization

Good visualization of data and statistical results is crucial to clear science communication, and I like to experiment with new ways to communicate information. Below are a few examples of visualizations I've made for previous projects. I ahve also created interactive dashboards where users can point-and-click to choose the information and plot types they want to see.

Visualizing change over time.
Visualizing spatial data.
Visualizing posterior distributions of effect sizes.
Visualizing variable distributions.


I identify as an R lady! There are just so many things you can do with R: data cleaning, statistics, data visualization... even website building! Besides my love for R I enjoy working in Python, am very comfortable using SQL for data management, Ubuntu and Unix for working on secure high performance computing servers, and I've created a few Android apps in Dart. Take a look at my GitHub to see some examples of projects in R and Python. Lastly, I've also built a few websites with html - such as this one, so you can be the judge of my skills ;) I enjoy learning new languages and am excited to increase this list!



I will list my publications here later. For now, check them out on Google Scholar!



Cycling is an important part of my life. I was a collegiate rower in the Netherlands, and when I moved to LA this became my main hobby. At this moment I'm captain of Velo Club La Grange's women's road race team. 2024 was also my second year participating in AIDS/LifeCycle, a ride from San Fransisco to Los Angeles to raise funds for HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment in these cities. I've raised a total of almost $10,000 dollars towards this cause, and am signed up again for next year! You can learn more about the ride and sponsor me here.

Trying to look good on a bicycle.
Just some of my best cycling buddies.
Me and my partner on the kick-off of AIDS/LifeCycle.
Climbing some mountain in Malibu.
Los Angeles, CA
Email: reneehagen (at) gmail.com