ISFS Staff

Carrying On the Work of ISFS...

LOIS A. VITT, Ph.D. is Chair and Founding Director of the Institute for Socio-Financial Studies (ISFS) in Charlottesville, Virginia. Dr. Vitt conducts research on consumer decision making, financial literacy education, consumer health finances, the finances of retirement and aging, and financial instruments and organizations. She has an executive background in business and finance, and she is a consultant to financial services companies and community organizations. She is Editor-in-Chief of the two-volume Encyclopedia of Retirement and Finance , and the author of articles and books about the social psychology of consumer financial decision making. Dr. Vitt pioneered the development of real estate financing vehicles for the capital markets, and her research on the beneficial social and personal effects of homeownership has been presented to audiences around the world. She received an Executive M.B.A. from Pace University , New York , and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Sociology at the American University in Washington , D.C.    Email:

JURG K. SIEGENTHALER, Ph.D., is a Consulting Research Director and the former Executive Director of the Institute for Socio-Financial Studies. Dr. Siegenthaler is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at American University. His research and teaching earlier at Cornell, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and Rutgers have encompassed the sociology of work and organizations as well as social policy analysis. Interests in work and retirement issues connected his previous specializations with social-gerontological topics. Among his studies in recent years are an international comparison of rights of older adults, a review of innovations in different social security systems in response to population aging and other social changes, an examination of how systems of social protection provide for older single women, and a review of flexible work schedules and older workers. He has been a visiting researcher with the International Social Security Association and the U.S. Social Security Administration. A special interest of his is the relationship between aging research, policy, and professional practice as the field of financial gerontology develops.   Email:

DARA DUGUAY is a Senior Fellow with ISFS in international projects. She has consulted on personal finance initiatives for clients such as JP Morgan Chase, the International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group), Visa, and Experian. Duguay has spoken at major financial literacy conferences (G8 summit in Moscow, OECD Forum, European Commission summit & European Parliament hearing). She is the former Director of Citigroup’s Office of Financial Education and oversaw a $200 million commitment to fund financial education projects globally. Prior to that, she served as the Executive Director of the Jump$tart Coalition, which advocated for increased financial education in U.S. schools. She is the author of three critically acclaimed personal finance books, the most recent being Please Send Money: A Financial Survival Guide for Young Adults on Their Own. Ms. Duguay received her B.A. in Communications from the University of Michigan and her M.A. in International Relations from Schiller University in Paris, France. She resides in Washington, DC. Email:

JEAN M. LANDIS is a Senior Research Associate with ISFS. She is an experienced social service program administrator, teacher, and published author. Her work has involved a wide range of substantive domestic and international topics and social issues, and she is knowledgeable about and active in community affairs. She has been an integral member of research teams and senior-level organizational staff. For Family Service of Lancaster, PA, she completed a major grant-funded research effort on the needs of adoptive families and authored the final evaluation report that was submitted to the Administration of Children, Youth and Families. While working on this project, she spearhearded the development of a regional, multi-agency task force that created a new model of post-adoption service delivery, and she assisted in developing statewide post-adoption benchmarks. She holds a BA in Social Welfare and MS in Community Systems Planning and Development from The Pennsylvania State University and she is A.B.D. in Sociology: Justice, Law and Society at The American University,
Washington, D.C.   Email:

SUSAN R. BERNARD is a Research Associate with ISFS with extensive prior executive experience in both for-profit and non-profit organizations. She has previously worked in social service program organization and administration, elementary and high school education, and the arts. Her work has involved a wide range of cultural and international relations, and socio-financial issues, and she is knowledgeable about and active in community affairs, marketing, and resource development.  Bernard was engaged for over 20 years in project planning and executive management during which she also worked with local governments, regional agencies, and nonprofit organizations in the areas of community and economic development. She holds a BA in Social Studies from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York.  Email:

GINNY PLUMEAU, President and Principal Ecologist at Cedarburg Science, LLC, is a skilled environmental consultant with 25 years of technical and leadership experience in Environmental Land Conservation and Natural Resources matters. She is engaged in partnering efforts between ISFS and Cedarburg Science. Her professional certification was earned as a Registered Environmental Manager (REM) in 1993. She has been involved in a number of local area initiatives, including the Milwaukee Green Team and teaching Environmental Business Issues at the University of Wisconsin. Email: