Chris R. Armstrong directs Opus: The Art of Work at Wheaton College, where he also serves on the biblical and theological studies faculty. He holds a doctorate in church history and taught for ten years in higher education.
Chris worked for eight years in business communications and journalism before returning to academia, sparking a personal interest in what his marketplace experience had been “for.”
Chris believes nothing is wasted in the vocational life of a Christian. As founding director of the Bethel Seminary (St Paul) Work with Purpose initiative during 2012-2013, Chris’s old life caught up with his new one, and he worked to bring pastors-in-training to an awareness of the disconnect many Christians experience between faith and marketplace work, and of the kingdom value of ordinary work. He considers his work with Opus at Wheaton a wonderful continuation of those efforts in a strategic new setting.
Chris has written Patron Saints for Postmoderns (IVP, 2009) and Medieval Wisdom: Finding Authentic Faith in a Forgotten Age with C. S. Lewis (Baker Academic, May 2016). He is senior editor of Christian History magazine and founding senior editor of the Patheos Faith and Work channel. He blogs at gratefultothedead.wordpress.com.
Chris loves sharing the joy of European board games with friends, especially games that bring together strong mechanics and interesting themes. He is also a huge fan of C.S. Lewis’ writing and loves brushing shoulders with Lewis scholars.
See Dr. Armstrong’s 2016 chapel talk, In Praise of Ordinary Work.
Ben Norquist studied history and political science in his undergraduate years (Bryan College, Dayton, Tennessee), and went on to earn his Master of Arts in Western thought from St. John's College (Annapolis, Maryland). Ben is a member of the Academy of Management, with particular interests in spirituality and management as well as entrepreneurship in the higher educational context.
As the assistant director, Ben contributes to the strategic planning and implementation of Opus’ goals and initiatives. He works directly with faculty, graduate student, and undergraduate student fellows and leads Opus’ research into internship design and integration of vocational themes into curriculum. He is also producing a series of curricular films for use in Wheaton classes across the institution.
Before coming to Wheaton, Ben served as a department director for seven years at Bryan College, where he and his team developed and refined mentored international internships, campus-wide lecture series’, academic study tours and other curricular and co-curricular programs. He also taught as an Assistant Professor on the political science faculty and led his department in developing more rigorous methods for program assessment and evaluation. Ben considers his current work with Opus to be a continuation and maturation of his previous work experiences.
Ben enjoys woodworking and mosaic making, remodeling his old house, running through the sprinkler with his kids and enjoying adventures with his wife, Ariel.
See Ben’s LinkedIn profile.
Cheryl Fan considers Perry, Georgia, her hometown although she holds Zhengzhou, China, closely in her heart since that is where she met and married her husband of 5 years. She studied Psychology and TESOL at Lee University before going in to a variety of missions assignments over the following six years.
Cheryl and her husband originally moved to Wheaton for her husband to pursue his master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Wheaton College. Through this time she developed a passion and desire to partner with this university in its amazing service of preparing future leaders to fulfill their dreams. She believes that having a deeper understanding of one's vocation and the role that not only God sees in work, but the pleasure we can experience in it, is the first step in living out true success and is very grateful to be serving Opus as they share this message in very tangible ways to faculty, staff, and students.
In her free time, Cheryl enjoys playing her guitar and Chinese checkers (though not at the same time), cooking (ergo taste-testing everything...multiple times...because someone has to do it), and exploring new areas of Chicago-land with her husband.
Senior Research Assistant
Allie Alayan studied Psychology at Indiana Wesleyan University and is now a second-year Psy.D. student at Wheaton College. She is from White Plains, New York, but has lived in the Midwest for several years now.
Allie has been involved in the Opus Graduate Fellowship Program for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 academic years. She is passionate about seeing undergraduate and graduate students reflect on the meaning of vocation in their lives. Allie sees her own vocation through her current roles of student, daughter, sister, and friend, and future roles of wife, mother, and psychologist. Upon graduation from the Psy.D. program, she would like to provide therapy and assessment services to those living in underprivileged communities in the United States, as well as internationally.
In her free time, Allie enjoys spending as much time outside as possible, eating new flavors of ice cream, and traveling.
Emily Allen is from Southern California but lived in Northern England and Austria, studying the Bible at a gap year program called Torchbearers, last year. She is currently pursuing a degree in International Relations at Wheaton College, with a possible minor in Psychology.
As a college student, she understands the great need for guidance in pursuing God’s unique call on an individual’s life. She is excited to work for an organization that facilitates helping students learn not just about future career opportunities, but also about how to best serve God in their unique situation.
Besides working for Opus, Emily is a part of Wheaton’s orchestra, playing the cello. Outside of class she enjoys volleyball, watching movies, and traveling.