Sonia Bilbao Sampedro

Sonia Bilbao Sampedro

My name's Sonia Bilbao Sampedro. I'm from Spain. I go to school at the Illinois Institute of Technology where I am a Masters in Chemical Engineering candidate.

What got you interested in sustainability?

I am very interested in sustainability because we have just one planet and we should try to keep it safe as long as we can. Every day, we are developing new technologies that help us to evolve. However, this fact has a dark side. Many of the developments don’t pay attention to the environment. Therefore, the civilization progresses while the planet is being damaged. If we want the Earth to last a long time, we should try to reduce the pollution and the destruction of the nature. The future generations deserve to be able to enjoy the world as we know it nowadays.

What sustainability, energy, and mobility issues are important to you?
What exciting projects/research are you working on now?

I think many issues are important currently. I am focused on pollution. All my laboratory projects are about the reduction of the environmental contamination. I am very proud of my first project about the eco-composites, material made of plastic and cellulose wastes. In my research group, we wrote a paper and it is in process of being published. Now, I worked at IIT trying to store methane, an important source of the greenhouse effect. Another field that I find very interesting is the pollution related to the mobility. Cars pollute the atmosphere with gases and particles that damage our lunges and the environment. Since I was a kid, I have spent a big effort in learning about recycling, trying to save the planet to the extent possible. I believe in the climate change and that we can stop it.

What are your plans for the next five years?

After the SISE this summer, I have an uncertain future. I am looking for a job right now, but this process is like a job itself. It is being very hard and exhausting. Nevertheless, I don’t give up. I see myself in five years working in the United States mainly, not sure about the exact position. I expect to work for a packaging company. I discovered that was my passion when one of my professors organized an excursion to the LBP facilities. I will probably have problems with my visa, but at least I can spend 3 years with my F-1 here.

What made you want to apply to SISE?

I applied to SISE because I want to learn. I am one of those people thirsty of knowledge and I know that this “camp” can help me to grow. I received several emails of the SISE. I remember that I did not open the first one (too many emails in my inbox). I read the second one and I thought about applying, but I was busy with exams and reports and I put it off until I forgot it (the deadline was in June, too far). And finally, around two weeks ago, I was lucky and I received the last one. I spent the whole day filling the forms and asking for the letter of recommendation. The next day, after a call and

What are you most looking forward to doing in the city?

I have been living in Chicago for 10 months so I have done some tourism. I would recommend visiting the Bahá'í House ofWorship in the last stop of the purple line (Linden). It is a beautiful place that not too many people know. Apart from that, I love the Navy Pier, the Riverwalk, the Lakefront Trial, the Loop and the skyline of Chicago.

Do you like cats? If not, are you willing to learn to like cats?

Yes, I do! I love cats and pets in general. My parents never let me have any, but I always ask for a cat to the Olentzero (a different kind of Santa Claus in the north of Spain) in Christmas. I never had one, but I enjoyed playing with my neighbors’ animals. They were so lovely and cheerful! If I have a big house, I will probably adopt a dog from an animal shelter next year. However, I know that I will live in an apartment or studio so I will have a cat. My best friend’s cat is very smart. She is able to know when one of us is sick or feeling bad and she seats on our laps. That is something that a common human