Justin Sydnor

Justin Sydnor

Acting Faculty Director (2015/2016 Academic Year)
Associate Director of Research, Center for Financial Security

Associate Professor of Actuarial Science, Risk Management & Insurance
Wisconsin School of Business
University of Wisconsin-Madison


Areas of Research Interest:  Psychology and Economics, Applied Microeconomics, (Behavioral) Industrial Organization, Insurance Markets, and Risk and Decision Making

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Sara Richie

Life Span Outreach Program Manager
Vilas County


Financial Security Work: Sara is the Outreach Program Manager for Life Span programming within the Institute of Human Development and Relationships. Previously, Sara was the Health & Well-Being Educator in Oneida, Vilas and Forest Counties. Some of her community efforts include programming in healthy aging, coalition building and leadership, and chronic disease prevention and management programs. Sara has assumed a number of leadership roles during her time at Extension, including within the Institute of Human Development and Relationships, as well as professional associations. Also, Sara has collaborated with colleagues to develop a facilitation guide to inform the work of Extension educators on creating aging-friendly communities. In addition to her experience with coordinating the efforts of local and statewide organizations, Sara has experience with project management and grant management including the Transform Wisconsin Grant ($150,000) and The Communities Putting Prevention to Work Grant ($2.3 million). Sara holds a Master degree in Community Health Education and a Bachelor in Family Life Education.

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Brook Berg

Family Engagement & Relationships Outreach Program Manager
Eau Claire


Financial Security Work: Brook Berg is an Outreach Program Manager for Family Engagement and Relationships, within the Institute of Human Development and Relationships. Prior to this role, she was an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Development and a Human Development and Relationships educator in Eau Claire County. She has focused her work around strengthening families through prevention and education. With an emphasis in social emotional development and parenting practices, she has taken a leadership role in building community capacity for the health and well-being of families and the communities they thrive in. Brook’s work on digital parenting education initiatives and the impact of family adversity on mental health have both been areas of research and impact. Brook has worked as the executive director of a multi-county non-profit organization, a technical college instructor, parent educator, home visitor and mental health specialist. She has a master’s degree in education and a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies from UW-Stout.

Jenny Abel

Financial Security Outreach Program Manager

Human Development and Relationships Institute


Financial Security Work: Jenny Abel is the Financial Security Outreach Program Manager within the Human Development and Relationships Institute at the UW-Madison’s Division of Extension since October of 2019. Prior to this work, Jenny worked for more than 18 years in the Arlington office of Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE) leading financial, nutrition, and energy conservation education programs. While with VCE she co-led Extension’ national participation as a cohort in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Your Money, Your Goals program. Jenny holds an Accredited Financial Counselor designation. One of her major interests is recruiting and training volunteers in all of Extension’s program areas in order to leverage the impact that Extension has in the community.