Now a patent-holding PhD with a high-level position as Principal R&D Optical Scientist & Engineer at Albuquerque-based Sandia National Laboratories, Anthony Tanbakuchi modestly describes his ascent from his Del Mar hometown as a series of “lucky” occurrences. In reality, this brilliant, down-to-earth scientist has made his own luck.
Anthony relates, “At Torrey Pines High, I loved math and science, and had a passion for photography. I am lucky to combine art and science in my work, which involves designing optical sensors to support national security needs. Exhibiting photography at the Fair qualified me to win a $5,000 Don Diego scholarship. It was huge! My parents couldn’t afford to fund my education at Rochester Institute of Technology. After that, I was lucky to receive scholarships at RIT and later at the University of Arizona, where I earned a PhD in Optical Sciences.”
Among Anthony’s many adventures, he served as a Park Ranger in the National Parks Service, taught community college statistics, worked at Phillips Research in the Netherlands, and received a U.S. patent for his Image Sensor Defect Correction Algorithm.
Today, Anthony and his wife, Kristina Rynes, enjoy an idyllic life along the Rio Grande on a five-acre ranch they share with mules, donkeys, chickens, dogs and the occasional beef cattle.
Anthony says, “I’m very thankful to Don Diego for helping me make the important first step.”