RIC welcomes organic chemist Dr. Kiesewetter

Samantha Scetta – Editor-in-Chief

Dr. Elizabeth Kiesewetter just began teaching organic chemistry at Rhode Island College this fall, but she is by no means a stranger to the subject.

Dr. Kiesewetter grew up in the midst of chemistry, as her mother is also an organic chemist . In a household where chemistry experiments are commonplace, chemistry becomes much less daunting of a subject. Even chemistry that focuses on mostly organic compounds.When Dr. Kiesewetter began taking organic chemistry classes as an undergraduate student at Georgetown University, she realized that organic chemistry is a class one really needs to think about how to study for–it is not a class for crammers. This is true for most sciences, especially when one is performing research.
Dr. Kiesewetter began her research as an undergraduate student, and is still in the process of getting her lab at RIC started. Her research focuses mainly on polymers (plastics) that have a variety of uses and applications.
Plastics are wonderful materials and have infinite uses, however they are polluting our oceans and most are not biodegradable. The end result of this is that plastic ends up everywhere– In our oceans, streets, backyards and sometimes in the food we consume.

Polylactide; a molecule used in biodegradable plastics

Some of Dr.Kiesewetter’s research focuses on biodegradable polymers, and how to design polymers to be the most cost efficient and valuable to consumers. “The polymers we make can be hydrolyzed- they react with water. When they react with water, they are able to degrade in oceans”. Dr. Kiesewetter highlighted an example of a common polymer, a polymer that is used in biodegradable coffee cup lids and commonly derived from corn. This polymer is known as polylactide, but is tends to be brittle so would not be able to be used for something like a milk jug.

In Dr. Kiesewetter’s lab, they work with polymers such as polylactide one but to try to change the chemistry of the existing polymer to synthesize a new and improved material.

Polymer research is an active and innovative field, and a field with plentiful job opportunities for young  chemists. Research on plastics is so important that The American Chemical Society has deemed that all undergraduate chemistry students must take classes that include information on polymer technology to graduate. This is definitely something to consider before you drop your chemistry major.

Organic chemists do have hobbies that, believe it or not, do not directly involve functional groups or resonance structures. Dr. Kiesewetter is an avid gardener and sourdough bread baker, she also enjoys yoga and going to the gym. She is certainly looking forward to getting her lab at RIC launched and hopes to be able to work with students. Dr. Kiesewetter ikes the fact that her organic chemistry classes are capped at 24 students because, in her words, “organic chem from a podium can be a hard sell to students”. Her advice to students taking organic chemistry would “Making connections to lecture and lab can add a richness to the class and give a deeper understanding. Be patient with yourself too. Organic chem is like a puzzle, and you will solve it if you’re patient”.



Just the facts

Mike Dwyer – Anchor Staff

“Just the facts” is a column written by our longtime news writer Mike Dwyer. The facts listed below are meant to inspire readers’ interests in bizarre scientific facts and possibly inspire a google search. One of the facts below is false– if you can find the singular false fact, email editorinchief@anchorweb.org and you will win a free ¼ page advertisement.


A team of psychologists from Plymouth University and Queensland University of Technology have found that playing just three minutes of Tetris decreased cravings for drugs, sex and alcohol by 13.9 percent.

Using high speed videography, a group of biologists found that all mammals above three kilograms empty their bladders in approximately 21 seconds and published their findings in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America” with the hope of clarifying some misconceptions in mainstream urology.

Immunologists at the University of Nevada found that two-thirds of people with chronic fatigue syndrome are infected with XMRV, an aggressive retrovirus linked to prostate cancer in bladder shy mice

A study supported by the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity was able to recreate the bipedal, digitigrade locomotion and parasagittal hind-limb movement of dinosaurs by attaching weighted plungers to the butts of chickens during the growth phase of ontogeny.

Entomologist Michael Smith subjected himself to bee stings on 25 separate body parts to determine which area hurt the most, finding the skull, middle toe tip, and upper arm were the least painful locations, while the nostril, upper lip and penis shaft were the most painful.

A sexually frustrated dolphin named Zafar terrorized beachgoers in the town of Landevennec in western France by rubbing up against boats, lifting one woman in the air with his nose and preventing another swimmer from returning to shore, forcing the mayor to issue a bylaw banning swimming and diving whenever Zafar is in the area.

Researchers at the University of Calgary in Canada and the University of Los Angeles have concluded that the mysterious purple band of atmospheric light known as “Steve” does not have the telltale traces of charged particles that auroras do. The cause of “Steve” remains unknown.

Brain scans have shown that people who self-identify as conservative have larger and more active right amygdalas. A team of psychologists found that social conservatives are quicker to physically look away when shown images of blood, feces, or vomit than their liberal peers, but stared for longer at images of people reacting in disgust to such content.

Scientists have discovered signs of cheese-making on clay vessels collected from two Neolithic villages in Croatia dating back seven thousand years.

While Princeton Geologist Gerta Keller has suffered decades of intense ridicule for arguing that the fifth extinction that killed the dinosaurs was caused by volcanic global warming, it is widely accepted that the eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia resulted in dramatic climatic shifts and may have contributed to Napoleon’s epic defeat at Waterloo in 1815.


Healthcare Scorecard: RI Gubernatorial Race

Lucille DiNaro – Business Manager

The information included in this article is provided only as general information and does not constitute endorsement, recommendation or favoring of any political candidate by The Anchor or by Rhode Island College’s faculty, administration or student body.

With three days ahead before the Rhode Island primary election, the time to research candidates is running thin. This infographic aims to objectively illustrate where Rhode Island Gubernatorial candidates stand on key issues regarding public health. Don’t arrive to the ballot unprepared: your community is counting on your diligence and your vote.  

Ballot Box, photo courtesy of The Harvard Crimson

Gina Raimondo – Democrat 


  • Proponent of the Affordable Care Act
  • Diligent in fight towards resolving the opioid crisis in Rhode Island
  • Confirmed support of the Reproductive Health Care Act
  • Supports cuts to Medicaid

Spencer Dickinson – Democrat


  • In favor of single payer system and universal health coverage
  • Stance on the Reproductive Health Care Act contingent on support of bill by female constituents, given that men “need to listen to women” with regards to reproductive health
  • Opponent of rising prescription drug costs

Matt Brown – Democrat


  • Seeks to reduce prescription drug costs
  • Seeks to transition to single payer system, “Medicare for All” in lieu of Affordable Care Act
  • Confirmed support of the Reproductive Health Care Act
  • Supports extended family leave

Allan Fung – Republican


  • Proponent of protections for citizens with pre-existing conditions under the Affordable Care Act
  • Opposed to late-term abortion
  • No confirmed stance regarding Reproductive Health Care Act

Giovanni Feroce – Republican


  • Opposed to Reproductive Health Care Act
  • Support of Affordable Care Act limited to protections for citizens with pre-existing conditions
  • Prefers issue by issue legislation to all inclusive health policy

Patricia Morgan – Republican


  • Prefers family planning and oral contraceptives to abortion
  • Champions RI HB5671, HB5672, HB 5673, which if passed will grant reciprocity to out of state physicians and loosen regulations surrounding licensure requirements
  • Seeks to reduce the cost of health care