Emmalyn Ylaya, Tangerine Clerk
In August 2018, communication and media professor Ariel Gratch traveled miles away from the south to join the Utica College community.
Gratch is originally from Orange County, California and then he grew up within the areas between Southern California and Atlanta, Georgia.
As a full-time assistant professor at Utica College, Gratch teaches courses within public speaking, communication arts and storytelling. It is usually students in the communication and media major who take his classes.
“I teach traditional rhetorical theories and practice,” he said. “In other words, if you need to say something out loud and you want people to be moved by what you say, it might be good for you to take a class or two with me.”
Since he started at UC, Gratch said he has had positive experiences with the college community.
“I really love the drive to learn that our students have,” he said. “What I like about our campus is the small campus size and the strong faculty union we have here.”
As someone who lived in the south for about 19 years, he said people would laugh at his use of saying “y’all” to everyone.
“Since I have been spending my life living in the southern area of the United States, it has always been a natural part of my speech that does not go anywhere,” he said. “Plus, I think it is a much better alternative to the non-gender specific ‘you guys.’”
Some students who have had Gratch as a professor shared experiences that they had in classes.
Sophomore John McCormick said he enjoyed having Gratch as a professor and the class he took with him.
“He did not just tell us to do x, y and z,” McCormick said. “He would perform a story of his own and go into detail about how to provoke the emotions of telling a story. He is a very easy professor to talk to.”
While taking a course with Gratch, McCormick said he was one professor that loved hearing students tell some stories for the class.
“He loves to hear your stories before telling it and he always gives you feedback to make it better,” McCormick said. “That way you can make your best performance for the class.” .
Sophomore Aaron Barsham said Gratch’s ability to teach is not something that many professors can do. He realized he has done much better being in front of an audience after taking a public speaking class with Gratch.
“I grew up with social anxiety where public speaking has never been easy for me,” Barsham said. “Gratch has helped me a lot with speaking in front of an audience”
Even if some students have difficulty with speaking in front of an audience, students said Gratch was the professor that could help them manage their nerves in front of audiences.
“I would end up going to his office here and there so he could help me out with speaking projects,” Barsham said. “He has also prepared me for what I want to do with my future career.” Gratch now resides in Syracuse with his wife and 4-year-old son. In his free time he likes to cook, read, tell stories and play with his son.