Staff Spotlight: Peta-Gaye Clachar

Peta-Gaye Clachar
Meet Peta-Gaye Clachar, communications specialist in the Department of Animal Science.
July 19, 2021

About Peta-Gaye

I was born and raised in the tropical island of Jamaica. As a child, I always dreamt of tapping into my artistic talents. I got this opportunity when I worked as a photojournalist at the largest newspaper company in Jamaica. I provided creative and newsworthy photographic coverage of events that encompassed a wide subject area from breaking news, politics, arts, entertainment and more.

In 2009, I was offered an academic scholarship to North Dakota State University (NDSU), in Fargo, North Dakota. I pursued a bachelor’s in fine arts degree in visual arts and a bachelor’s degree in science in journalism and mass communications, with an emphasis in print, digital media and broadcasting. I successfully completed my studies and got the opportunity to work as a television news reporter where I continued to report on and make a difference in many lives. One of the things that impacted me was when I used my platform to make an impact to help a homeless family find a new home. I was able to give them a voice.

With a desire to effect more changes and grow professionally, I applied to the University of Nebraska—Lincoln to pursue a Master of Legal Studies. My goal was to learn more about communication laws. On May 7, 2021, despite the challenges of COVID-19, I graduated with an MLS degree. While battling with lots of reading of the thick and very heavy law books, I juggled law and my job in the Department of Animal Science at the same time to be able to apply my knowledge in my duties.

What is your position at the University of Nebraska?

I am a communication specialist. I am responsible for multiple roles including branding, media relations, writing articles and press releases and web design. I also am the only female who sits on the UNL WDN Governance Board where I get to help govern the look and feel of the entire University of Nebraska webpages. I also shoot and edit videos and photography, create graphic designs and do a wide variety of other communication–related projects.

What drew you to the University of Nebraska?

The thing that drew me to UNL was the rich art culture that exists in Lincoln. It is nice to see the artworks on the city sidewalks, in buildings, campuses and all over the community. As an artist, I knew I fit right in. I felt the culture had many exciting things to offer and that Nebraska was not just about corn fields, cows and tornadoes. Now, I envisioned “the good life” and totally understood why Nebraska, at one time, was ranked the number one happiest state in America.

What aspect of working in an educational setting do you enjoy the most?

What I enjoy most is that the university doesn’t only take care of its students, but also, its employees. It provides the Employee & Dependent Scholarship Program that encourages employees to take classes on campus and offers free credit hours per year. This is a great way to apply the skills you learn in classes to your position.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement is academic. I hold a master’s degree in a very difficult subject area—law, graduated with two degrees, in a four-and-a-half-year period and at the top of the dean’s list, I have a photography diploma, two social media certificates, and certificates in HTML and CSS. As a woman, who is black, and thirdly, from a third world country where dreams are hard to realize, these are major accomplishments.

What is something that most people don't know about you?

Most people don’t know that I paint professionally and that a few of my paintings were purchased as part of the NDSU Memorial Union Art Gallery permanent collection because of their uniqueness. The triptych, “Fertility Series”, was displayed beside the paintings of famous artists like: Salvador Dali, Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist. Fertility Series is a triptych of encaustic paintings, inspired by wax painter, Jasper Johns. These works are part of the permanent art collection of North Dakota State University Memorial Union Art Gallery. It was a privilege to witness this exhibition while I’m alive.

What is your life like outside of work?

My life outside of work is dedicated to my dog, Sherman. Outside of that, I am gardening and tending to my African violets, studying, or doing more work to stay caught up. However, I am always trying to learn something new to stay ahead.