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Michael Toscano

Michael Toscano, Executive Director

Michael Toscano is executive director of the Institute for Family Studies. Michael is a leader in efforts nationwide to adopt laws to make technology safer for kids. He has written on family policy, tech policy, the uses of technology to reshape work, and the effect of technological change on America's republican form of government. His writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The New York PostFirst Things, Compact, The American Conservative, National Review, and elsewhere. Under his leadership, IFS has more than doubled its annual budget and quadrupled its research output. He is co-author with Peter Wood of "What Does Bowdoin Teach? How a Liberal Arts College Shapes Students" (2013).

Brad Wilcox

Brad Wilcox, Future of Freedom Fellow

Brad Wilcox is Professor of Sociology and Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, the Future of Freedom Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, and a nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. The author of Get Married: Why Americans Should Defy the Elites, Forge Strong Families and Save Civilization (Harper Collins, 2024), Wilcox studies marital quality, marital stability, and the impact of strong and stable marriages upon men, women, and children. The author and editor of six books, Wilcox has written for scientific journals such as The American Sociological Review and The Journal of Marriage and Family, and The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and National Review.

Wendy Wang

Wendy Wang, Director of Research

Wendy Wang (Ph.D., University of Maryland) is director of research at the Institute for Family Studies. Dr. Wang is a former senior researcher at Pew Research Center, where she conducted research on marriage, gender, work, and family life in the United States. She was the lead author of the Pew Research Center report, Breadwinner Moms, among other Pew reports.

Alysse ElHage

Alysse ElHage, Editor, Family Studies Blog

Alysse ElHage is editor of the IFS Blog, Family Studies, and a freelance writer. Prior to joining the Institute for Family Studies, she served as associate director of research at the North Carolina Family Policy Council, and as associate editor of Family North Carolina magazine. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from Covenant College and master's degree in journalism from Regent University. Alysse's writing has appeared in VerilyAcculturatedAleteia, and at FoxNews.com. She also contributed an essay to the anthology, He Never Came Home: Interviews, Stories, and Essays from Daughters on Life Without Their Fathers, edited by Regina R. Robertson.

Chris Bullivant

Chris Bullivant, Director of Communications

Chris Bullivant is Director of Communications for the Institute for Family Studies. He was most recently Director of the Social Capital Campaign and previously helped to establish London-based online commentary magazine Unherd, and two think tanks in London, including the Centre for Social Justice, which developed a welfare and poverty policy platform adopted by then incoming Prime Minister Rt. Hon. David Cameron M.P. Chris' writing has been published in USA Today, Deseret News, The American Conservative, The Washington Examiner and UnHerd. He has a Masters in Political Sociology from the London School of Economics, and a Bachelors in Political Science from the University of London.

Lyman Stone

Lyman Stone, Senior Fellow, Director of the Pronatalism Initiative

Lyman Stone is a senior fellow and director of the Pronatalism Initiative at the Institute for Family Studies. He is also the chief information officer of the consulting firm Demographic Intelligence and a PhD student at McGill University. His work has been covered in the New York TimesWashington PostWall Street JournalVox, and The Federalist, as well as numerous local outlets. He formerly worked as an international economist for USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service and currently lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with his wife and three daughters. They formerly lived in Hong Kong.

Wendy Mason

Wendy Mason, Office Manager

Wendy Blythe Mason the Office Manager for the Institute for Family Studies. She has over 30 years of administrative experience in multiple industries that include Virginia Power, Martin Marietta (currently Lockheed), pharmaceutical trial startups, aviation and avionics, healthcare, and custom home builders.  Wendy earned a Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Colorado in 1999 and  has earned a certificate in Financial Accounting from Harvard University.  

Wendy home schooled her children, loves music, poetry, and the fine arts, and can be heard playing guitar, singing, and dancing on her back porch every weekend by her neighbors who occasionally join the performances.  

Connie Huber

Connie Huber, Senior Curriculum Fellow

Connie Huber is a Senior Curriculum Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, and a professor and program coordinator in the Public Health Program at the University of Cincinnati. Her research focuses on marriage as a primordial prevention for adolescent risk and to promote the well-being of children and adolescents. She was a subject matter expert providing training and technical assistant for adolescent prevention program grantees with the Family Youth Service Bureau within Administration for Child and Family Services of U.S. Health and Human services. 

Scott Stanley

Scott Stanley, Senior Fellow

Scott M. Stanley is a senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies and a research professor and co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver. Stanley is the author of The Power of Commitment and one of the founders of PREP (internationally recognized, evidence-based relationship education curricula), and he conducts research on commitment, romantic relationship development, and the prevention of marital distress and divorce.

Laurie DeRose

Laurie DeRose, Senior Fellow

Laurie F. DeRose (Brown University, Ph.D.) is a senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, director of research for the World Family Map Project, and assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Catholic University of America. She has published numerous articles on fertility, education, fertility decision-making, and public health in sub-Saharan Africa.

Nicholas Zill, Senior Fellow

Nicholas Zill is a research psychologist and senior fellow of the Institute for Family Studies. He directed the National Survey of Children, a longitudinal study that produced widely cited findings on children’s life experiences and adjustment following parental divorce. He previously served as the first project director of the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey, and he is the founder of the organization, Child Trends. Dr. Zill is the co-author of Running In Place: How American Families Are Faring In A Changing Economy and An Individualistic Society, and of Who Reads Literature? The Future of the United States As A Nation of Readers.

Jason S. Carroll

Jason S. Carroll, Senior Fellow

Jason S. Carroll is the Family Research Director at the Wheatley Institute at Brigham Young University and a senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies. He has published widely on links between marriage and human flourishing, marriage readiness among young adults, and modern threats to marriage.  Dr. Carroll was awarded the Berscheid-Hatfield Award for Distinguished Mid-Career Achievement, an annual award given for distinguished scientific achievement by the International Association for Relationship Research (IARR). Dr. Carroll is best known professionally for his development of the “Developmental Model of Marital Competence,” the widely used “Marital Horizon Theory” of young adult readiness for marriage, and “Sexual Restraint Theory,” which has been used to demonstrate the benefits to couples who wait until they are married to begin their sexual relationship. Most recently, Dr. Carroll has received recognition for his co-development of the “STRIVE-4 Model of Virtue” that provides a comprehensive model to organize and guide a mature science of the role personal virtues play in human flourishing.    

Jenet Erickson

Jenet Erickson, Senior Fellow in Maternal and Child Wellbeing

Jenet Erickson (PhD, University of Minnesota) is a fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, a fellow of the Wheatley Institution, and an associate professor in Religious Education and the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University. Erickson’s research specializing in maternal and child-wellbeing in the context of work and family life has been featured in multiple major news outlets. As a Social Science Research Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, she completed an extensive review of research on the effects of non-parental care on children’s development for policy makers. Since 2013, she has been columnist on family issues for the Deseret News.

Bill Coffin

Bill Coffin, Senior Fellow

Bill Coffin (Maryland, M.Ed.) is a senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies and the author of the IFS "Friday Five." The former Special Assistant for Marriage Education at the Administration for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services, Bill is a recipient of the Smart Marriages Impact Award. He and his wife, Pat, recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.


Spencer L. James

Spencer L. James, Senior Fellow

Spencer L. James is a senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies and an associate professor in the School of Family Life and the Africana Studies program at Brigham Young University. His research focuses on family relationships and the influence of those relationships on the wellbeing of children, adolescents, and adults, in both developing and developed countries. Within this broader stream of research, he focuses on two lines: the first on the consequences of family relationships for child well-being, and the second addressing how and why people form, maintain, and dissolve romantic relationships. Currently, he is working on several projects that examine how family structure and child well-being are linked in sub-Saharan Africa.


Robert I. Lerman

Robert I. Lerman, Senior Fellow

Robert I. Lerman is a senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, Professor of Economics at American University, Institute Fellow at the Urban Institute, and Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn, Germany. He has published widely on economics and social policy issues and was one of the first scholars to examine unwed fatherhood and to propose a youth apprenticeship strategy in the U.S.

Charles E. Stokes

Charles E. Stokes, Senior Fellow

Charles E. Stokes (University of Texas at Austin, Ph.D.) is a senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies and Associate Professor of Sociology at Samford University. Much of his work investigates how family, education, and religion influence the well-being of youth. His recent work has been published in venues such as Journal of Marriage and Family, Social Science Research, and Journal of Family Issues.

Kay Hymowitz

Kay Hymowitz, Contributing Editor

Kay Hymowitz is a contributing editor at the Institute for Family Studies, the William E. Simon Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and a contributing editor of City Journal. She writes extensively on childhood, family issues, poverty, and cultural change in America.

Erica Komisar

Erica Komisar, Contributing Editor

Erica Komisar, LCSW is a contributing editor at the Institute for Family Studies, a clinical social worker, psychoanalyst, and parent guidance expert who has been in private practice in New York City for over 30 years. A graduate of Georgetown and Columbia Universities and The New York Freudian Society, Ms. Komisar is a psychological consultant bringing parenting and work/life workshops to clinics, schools, corporations, and childcare settings including The Garden House School, Goldman Sachs, Shearman and Sterling and SWFS Early Childhood Center. Erica is the author of Being There: Why Prioritizing Motherhood in the First Three Years Matters, and is currently finishing a second book on the topic of adolescence.

Naomi Schaefer Riley

Naomi Schaefer Riley, Contributing Editor

Naomi Schaefer Riley is a contributing editor at the Institute for Family Studies, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the Independent Women's Forum. The author of six books, including Be the Parent: Stop Banning Seesaws and Start Banning Snapchat (2018), she writes about child welfare, parenting, higher education, religion, and philanthropy.

Ashley E. McGuire

Ashley E. McGuire, Contributing Editor

Ashley E. McGuire is a contributing editor at the Institute for Family Studies, a senior fellow with The Catholic Association, editor-in-chief of AltCatholicah, and the Richard John Neuhaus Fellow at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. Her writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, among others, and she has appeared on CNN, FOX News, PBS, CBS, and the BBC.

Amber Lapp

Amber Lapp, Research Fellow

Amber Lapp is a research fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, a contributing writer at American Compass, and co-investigator of the Love and Marriage in Middle America Project, a qualitative research inquiry into how working-class young adults form relationships and families. She and her husband David live in a small town in southwestern Ohio with their five children. Her writing has appeared in National Review, First Things, USA Today, The Federalist, Comment Magazine, and The Atlantic Online.

David Lapp

David Lapp, Research Fellow

David Lapp is a research fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, an affiliate scholar at the Institute for American Values, and co-investigator of the Love and Marriage in Middle America Project, a qualitative research inquiry into how working-class young adults form relationships and families. Lapp blogs at IBelieveinLove.com, and his work has appeared in media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Online, and First Things.

Robert VerBruggen

Robert VerBruggen, Research Fellow

Robert VerBruggen is a research fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and a contributing editor at National Review. He graduated from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in 2006 and has also held positions at The American ConservativeRealClearPolicyThe Washington Times, and The National Interest. He lives in Herndon, Va., with his wife and two children.

Clay Routledge

Clay Routledge, Senior Fellow

Clay Routledge is a senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies and Professor of Psychology at North Dakota State University. His work uses a range of empirical methods to examine the different ways people seek meaning and how the presence or absence of meaning influences physical and psychological health. Dr. Routledge has published widely in scholarly and popular venues on these and other subjects, and is the editor and author of several books, including Nostalgia: A Psychological Resource and Supernatural: Death, Meaning, and the Power of the Invisible World.

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