Photo of Dr. Tessy Ritchie

Dr. Tessy Ritchie

Chief Chemist
Director of Instrumentation Core Facility


Dr. Tessy Ritchie is the Chief Chemist and Director of the Instrumentation Core Facility at the Department of Chemistry and Life Science where she supports a variety of the chemistry laboratory courses with a focus on Instrumental Methods of Analysis and Advanced Chemistry Laboratory. After earning a B.S. in Chemistry from the New Jersey Institute of Technology in 2008, she went on to complete her Ph.D. in Chemistry (with a focus on polymer chemistry) from the University of Maryland in 2016. She worked at Precision Polyolefins, LLC as a Staff Scientist soon after graduating. In 2017, she joined the United States Naval Academy (USNA) in Annapolis, MD as an Instructor of Practical Applications in the Chemistry Department. She supported the Integrated Laboratory program and served as department webmaster. She collaborated with and undertook several STEM education research projects during her time at USNA.

In 2020, she joined USMA as the Chief Chemist and Director of the Instrumentation Core Facility where she supervises 3 laboratory staff members, oversees the smooth operation of several chemistry laboratory courses, and maintains 25 pieces of instrumentation and equipment valued in excess of $2.1 million. Through her work she supports and collaborates with a variety of faculty and cadet research projects throughout the academy.

Ongoing Research Projects

Dr. Ritchie works on a variety of research projects. She serves as the instrumentational specialist for the department and has gotten involved in method development, optimization, and data analysis for various projects.  Examples include:

  • Understanding the Evolution of Gunpowder
  • Determining combustion products from thermal treatment of munitions components containing per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances
  • Using quantum dots for sensing applications
  • Diagnostic biodetection

In addition to this Dr. Ritchie also has contributed extensively to STEM education research projects with a specific focus on:

  • STEM Ph.D. student and alumni professional development 
  • Science communication training in graduate programs 
  • The intersection between technology and student belonging
  • Atoms First Curriculum 

Publications & Presentations

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Ritchie, T.S.; McCartney, M*. "Providing Transferable, Professional Skills for the Next Generation of Scientific Professionals." Journal of STEM Outreach 2019, 2, 1-13.

Ritchie, T.S.*; Perez Cardenas, M.; Ganapati, S. "The Establishment and Implementation of a Peer Supported Professional Development Initiative – by Doctoral Students, for Doctoral Students." J. Chem. Educ. 2018, 95, 1947−1953.

Thomas, T. S.; Hwang, W.; Sita, L. R.* "End-Group-Functionalized Poly(α-olefinates) as Non-Polar Building Blocks: Self-Assembly of Sugar–Polyolefin Hybrid Conjugates." Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2016, 5, 4683-4687.

*Corresponding author

Abstracts & Peer-Reviewed Conference Proceedings

Clark, Trevor R.; Yocca, Sebastian R.; Dillner, Debra Kay; Teichert, Melonie A.; Ritchie, Tessy S.; Bunce, Diane M.; Schroeder, Maria J. “Analysis of particulate-level understanding in an atoms-first course” 259th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Philadelphia, PA, United States, March 22-26, 2020 (Poster)

Ritchie, Tessy S.; McCartney, Melissa. “Annotator professional development training: An outreach opportunity in STEM education and communication” 257th ACS National Meeting & Exposition, Orlando, FL, United States, Mar. 31-Apr. 4, 2019 (Oral)

Thomas, T. S.; Sita, L. R. “Sub-10 nm Domain Spacing within Nanostructured, Microphase-separated Organic Thin Films of Low Molecular Weight, Atactic Poly(α-olefin) – Sugar Hybrid Conjugates” 251st American Chemical Society National Meeting, San Diego, CA, 2016. (Oral)

Thomas, T. S.; Hwang, W.; Sita, L. R. “Sugar-based Surfactants Utilizing Low Molecular Weight, Atactic Poly(α-olefins) as Tunable Hydrophobic Groups” 250th American Chemical Society National Meeting, Boston, MA, 2015. (Oral)

Ellis, E.; Ferraioli, C. C.; Nynka, A. J.; Thomas, T. S. “‘Let Them Have Technology’: Digital Literacy, Accessibility, and Underrepresented Students”, Lilly International, Bethesda, MD, 2015. (Oral)