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.
Erin was born in Mankato, MN, but spent most of her early years in Sioux City, IA with her parents and older brother. She attended Wheaton College after learning about the school from a Google search for Christian colleges and universities. She graduated with a degree in community art and completed a minor in urban studies while participating in the Wheaton in Chicago program. Throughout the process, she developed a love for bringing creative approaches to friendships, relationships, and institutional and administrative challenges. Erin and her fiancé met during their freshman year in the Wheaton College Gospel Choir, giving the choir a special place in their hearts.
Erin is particularly interested in the ways God’s vocational callings often come to us through the ordinary aspects of everyday life, such as physical location, relational ties, ability, opportunity, and other life experiences. She seeks to orient herself to God’s leading in all of the many realms and layers of work in her life, looking for purpose and beauty in unexpected places.
During her free time, Erin enjoys playing piano, reading fantasy fiction, playing pinochle with her extended family, discussing movies with friends, and bookbinding.
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.
Senior Research Assistant
Luci Sanders is from Pasadena, California, and has come to Wheaton, IL to get her M.A. in Biblical Exegesis from Wheaton Graduate School. She has travelled and worked many places around the world doing missions and church work in Norway, Estonia, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, and Detroit, Michigan. With her undergrad in Biblical Studies, Luci is interested in the intersection between academic biblical studies and the application of these studies to the praxis of the church and lives of believers.
Luci has been involved with Opus since September 2016 as a Graduate Fellow, and has recently transitioned to join the Opus team as a Senior Research Assistant. With her background and expertise in biblical interpretation and exegesis, she is interested in deep exploration of the biblical text and its original contexts in regard to work and vocation. She is also interested in what the biblical text has to offer for modern Christians who are contemplating their personal callings and involvement within the world.
In her spare time, Luci loves reading the classics, listening to and playing rock n’ roll music, and travelling to both new and familiar places.
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.