Volunteer Spotlight: Steve Barger, '85
By Tony Scott
Steve Barger, '85, enjoys staying connected to his alma mater through volunteer opportunities.
For Steve Barger, ’85, volunteering for his alma mater has been beneficial on a personal and professional level.
“I’ve met so many wonderful people while volunteering, and it’s helped me stay close to NIU alumni, faculty and students, as well as helping me understand what it’s like to be a student today,” he said. “I’ve also made many business connections, including meeting future bosses and clients by staying connected to NIU.”
Barger has volunteered for a variety of opportunities at NIU, including advocating for NIU students during the annual Advocacy Day at the State Capitol in Springfield.
Barger has been a mentor to NIU students, a longtime member, and now president, of the Computer Science Alumni Council, and recently participated in NIU Advocacy Day in Springfield where he met with senators and representatives to highlight issues important to NIU.
A native of suburban Brookfield, Illinois, near the Brookfield Zoo, Barger first attended college at the University of Illinois at Chicago and then transferred to NIU.
“I wanted to program, not build computers so I did a lot of research and learned that NIU had a highly respected computer science program,” he said.
Barger enjoyed being a computer science student at NIU, as he liked to make his own schedule.
“I worked in the Computer Lab and as an operator in the Data Center,” he said. “The Comp Sci classes were tough but that made the fun times even better.”
Attending NIU helped him as he began his career, but it also sparked meaningful relationships, including a very special one.
“Soon after moving to DeKalb, I met a great friend that I am still close with to this day,” he said. “The professors and courses gave me the confidence and skills that led to multiple job offers before I graduated. I was in high demand due to the knowledge that I gained. The best part, is that I met my wife of 35 years several weeks before I graduated!”
His wife, Cynthia, ’86, earned a bachelor’s degree in community health from the College of Health and Human Sciences.
Following graduation, Barger enjoyed a successful career in technology and business.
“I worked as a consultant for many clients throughout Chicago,” he said. “My technical skills led me to roles where I became an expert in IBM technologies, so I started traveling the U.S. helping companies with technology and eventually business solutions. That eventually led me to executive roles with Fortune 500 companies and to my current role as the chief operating officer at Moshun, a technology start-up.”
Barger said he appreciates the opportunities being a volunteer brings.
“I enjoy sharing my knowledge and experience with others to hopefully make their journey a little easier,” he said.