Science Olympics

Hartwick’s Titus Gives Roxbury Students an Edge in Science Olympiad

April 8, 2013

Since 1995, Hartwick College Professor of Geology Dr. Robert (Bob) Titus has been going above and beyond his time spent in the classroom at Hartwick by volunteering at the Roxbury Junior and Senior Central Schools in Roxbury, New York. Year after year, Titus returns to the small school district in the western Catskills to serve as an advisor in order to assist students with their participation in the annual New York State Science Olympiad.

In 1995 - Titus' first year with the team - Roxbury's "A-team" captured the title of "New York State Division B Champion" at the State Finals, and then went on to place 41st out of 51 teams at the National Finals.

"It was an exciting year," Titus said, "and I've been with them ever since."

Titus serves as the "extra edge" and confidence boost that the students at RCS need in order to compete with much larger schools that enter the competition. He has donated his time, his knowledge and expertise in the area of geology and earth science, and even a collection of rocks and minerals that the students have fondly since named, "The Titus Collection."

The time that Titus spends with the students of RCS demonstrates that he is not only a dedicated professor at Hartwick, but that he is a devoted and caring member of the community, and his time and effort certainly pay off. The RCS students continue to do exceptionally well in the "Rocks and Minerals" category of the competition, bringing home gold and silver medals year after year.

The team's Head Coach is RCS science teacher Fred Zimmerman, who Titus calls "a devoted science teacher that instills high enthusiasm in his students." Zimmerman coaches the students on a wide range of science topics that are integrated into competition. With the help of Zimmerman, Titus, and the team's other advisors and volunteers, including Hartwick Professor of Physics Emeritus Dr. Roger Hickey, the Roxbury Rockets Junior High Science Olympiad Team placed second over-all at the 2013 Capitol Area Regional Tournament. The Rockets will now move on to the State Finals to be held at Syracuse University on April 12 and 13. Over the years, the teams have placed at both the Regional Finals and State Finals, and have received the "Best Small School" award multiple times. 

About his experience working with the Rockets, Titus said: "The students and staff are dedicated, and it is a wonderful thing to be a part of."

The New York State Science Olympiad (NYSSO) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of science education in grades 5-12, increasing male, female and minority interest in science, creating a technologically literate workforce and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science and technology. These goals are achieved by providing opportunities for teams of students to participate in 22 regional and state Science Olympiad tournaments across New York State. Information from articles and studies that have measured the impact of Science Olympiad on students may be seen here. NYSSO also promotes the inclusion of Science Olympiad activities in classroom curricula and provides teacher training at seminars and an annual coaches' workshop. Click here for more detailed information.

For additional information, contact Titus at 607-431-4733 or at

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hartwick College is a private liberal arts and sciences college of 1,500 students, located in Oneonta, NY, in the northern foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Hartwick's expansive curriculum emphasizes an experiential approach to the liberal arts. Through personalized teaching, collaborative research, a distinctive January Term, a wide range of internships, and vast study-abroad opportunities, Hartwick ensures that students are prepared for not just their first jobs, but for the world ahead. A Three-Year Bachelor's Degree Program and strong financial aid and scholarship offerings keep a Hartwick education affordable.

Contact: Valerie Capullo
Phone: 607-431-4031