Gary Glaser: Renaissance Man

By Anna Kubiak
April 26, 2022

If you have taken or are planning to take a biology class at GCC, there is a good chance that you will run into Professor Glaser. After all, as a professor at GCC, he has taught almost all of the biology classes GCC offers at one time or another. He currently teaches Anatomy and Physiology 1, Anatomy and Physiology 2, and Human Biology, allowing him to share his love for biology with students, but that’s not all he’s known for around the campus and beyond.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Professor Glaser routinely participated in the 45-mile route for the Ride for Roswell. While the past two years have brought some unique challenges, he still plans to combine his love for cycling with his dedication to the cause. “Cycling is one of the hobbies that I enjoy. It’s just one of those things where I enjoy getting out there and putting the miles on,” Professor Glaser said. Cycling is a method that he uses to calm his mind, but this Ride for Roswell he has even more to ride for.

“This past year has seen three different colleagues have cancer. That’s really taken a toll,” Professor Glaser said. He hopes that his efforts to support the research conducted at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center along with the commitment of the other riders will continue to have a positive impact on the community.

While cycling is one way that Professor Glaser finds enjoyment, it is not the only hobby that he has been able to cultivate. After being asked to photograph a relative’s wedding, Professor Glaser decided to expand on his lifelong love of photography by starting his own photography business. “Creating a photography business was not originally the goal,” Professor Glaser said as he explained the impact that Glaser Studio has had on his life. He continued, “From a young age I’ve always been around photography and enjoyed it.”

He continues to find unique ways to blend his passions together by stepping in as a photographer when the college needs one. Through his YouTube channel, SimplyAandP, he has used macro photography combined with histology to create a video database where students and anyone else who is interested can grow their understanding of histology. “It started off as a little project to help students learn anatomy by creating videos for histology,” Professor Glaser said. Today the channel has around 15,000 followers and has content that has expanded to include videos on bones, muscles, molecules, and more.

While Professor Glaser has worked to create a work and life balance, this wasn’t always the career that he saw for himself. “It was actually kind of a toss up to start with. I was going to go either medicine or biology,” he said, explaining that it was his high school dream to become a Doctor of Medicine. “I just realized that I wasn’t feeling the structure.” By opting for some creative flexibility, Professor Glaser was able to craft a balance in his life that allows him to be both a biology professor and a professional photographer or as he says, “the whole right brain, left brain thing, it lets me be on both sides.”

Balance can be a difficult thing to create in a professional career, and while it is not without its struggles, Professor Glaser often finds his in the process of blending his passions together. “Trying to mold as much of them together, not just keeping them separate because they can overlap a lot,” Professor Glaser said is part of his secret.

For anyone trying to decide between a creative career and a more scientific based one, Professor Glaser offers advice based on his own personal experience. “Don’t pick one, a lot of careers can mix together. Find out what you really enjoy and then find out what you enjoy beyond that, pick the top two or three and see if they fit into a career. You might be surprised.”

It’s not just life that Professor Glaser tries to find a balance in, it’s also his style as a professor. “Being the best professor as possible is more an attitude of understanding, because you can be the best person at explaining a topic, but if you explain it in a way that no one understands then it doesn’t work,” he said. His theory is all about using multiple methods of communication to connect with students, not just presenting the information, but also adjusting to how students learn it.

His varied hobbies and inspirational outlook on career and life reflect a similar philosophy that can be seen through his unique approach to teaching and storytelling utilizing the mediums available in both biology and photography. When asked to describe himself as a professor in one word he said, “approachable,” a message he hopes will encourage students to reach out when they are in his class and promote a culture of creativity and learning.