Meet Tsuyoshi Kohlgruber: future researcher

kohlgruber (Download Image) Tsuyoshi Kohlgruber is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His hopes to work at Lawrence Livermore for a year or so and then pursue a graduate degree. Photo by Julie Russell/LLNL

Editor's Note: This is one in a series of articles highlighting the diverse group of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory summer students.


The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) student internship program is designed to allow students to engage in work-study employment opportunities in relevant science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and administrative fields during the summer academic break. This year, LLNL is proud to welcome more than 600 students from universities nationwide and around the world.  

Introducing: Tsuyoshi Kohlgruber

Full name: Tsuyoshi Anthony Kohlgruber

Hometown:  Born in Ota, Japan, but mainly grew up in Kelowna, Canada, and Livermore. If I had to choose one of those three, I would choose Ota, Japan.

University attending/educational background:  I am going into my fourth year as an undergraduate studying chemistry at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Major: Chemistry

Graduation year: 2016

LLNL Directorate you are working in: Physical and Life Sciences

What interested you in pursuing a summer internship at the Laboratory?

I discovered in high school that I enjoyed the sciences. Since I lived in Livermore for 10 years, I have known about the Lab, however, I actually didn’t know much about the projects that went on here. I thought interning would be a good opportunity to expose myself to it and gain a better understanding of the Lab’s research.

What are you working on at the Laboratory?

I am working on the phosphor project. We are trying to find a replacement red phosphor to the current one in fluorescent lighting because the current red phosphor uses elements that are expensive and, more importantly, have a supply risk.


What do you enjoy most about interning at the Laboratory?

I really enjoyed everything about the internship at the Lab, which is why I have come back for my third summer. The people that work here, the interesting projects that I am exposed to, the amount that I learn each summer, my mentor and the group I work with have made this internship an amazing experience.

What have you learned (or are learning) that has made a difference to you?

Besides the science, definitely managing time and staying organized is something I have learned that has made a difference. I have a lot of things that I have to keep track of with work, so I have had to learn very quickly how to stay on top of everything. This has helped me tremendously with my life at school and at home.

Where do you see yourself after graduation? What is your dream job?

After graduation I am hoping to come back to the Lab for a year or so before continuing on to graduate school to pursue a Ph.D. My ultimate goal is to be a researcher.

Who/what has inspired you to pursue an education and career in a science, technology, engineering, mathematics field?

My inspiration has been my older sister, Ayano Kohlgruber. She isn’t just my inspiration in science though; she is a great role model at how to approach life. I would be lucky to be half as awesome as she is.

What has been your biggest challenge to overcome?

Becoming self-reliant has been a big obstacle for me. In high school I didn’t have to worry about a thing because my parents were around. When I left for college, my parents moved out of state, so I have lived on my own for the past two to three years. It was a challenge figuring out how to do things on my own.

What do you consider to be your biggest accomplishment?

I would have to say my biggest accomplishment, so far, was winning a cross country race my senior year in high school. I won the race about six to seven months after I was injured and couldn’t walk. This race was important to me not because I had won it, but because it took a lot of hard work, patience and dedication to get into even better shape than I was prior to the injury.

As a college student, what is the most important lesson you have learned?

Take a couple of risks and try things that you might not normally do. For example, when you have the option to try something new or study for an upcoming midterm, choose the adventure. You don’t remember the night you studied for a test. As long as you work hard daily, you should be able to take these new opportunities as they are presented and you will end up just fine.

What advice would you give a high school student?

Enjoy high school as much as possible, but also try to figure out what you love. This way, by the time you get to college you will have a better idea of what you want to do/study and won’t waste time (and money) when you get there.


What do you like to do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?

I love being outside and being active. I play soccer, hike, run and swim. I would really like to learn archery and salsa dancing. When I have the time, my favorite things to do are to travel, hang out with my sister and eat gummies!

What is next for you/what are you looking forward to?

After this summer’s internship, I am going to be in Germany for two weeks with my sister on vacation. (We are actually touring the Haribo gummi factory.) After that, I am looking forward to my last year of my undergraduate studies and completing my bachelor’s degree. It will be a busy but fun year.


To learn more about summer internships and the Laboratory’s scholar programs, visit the scholars@llnl website

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