Katherine Bomkamp keeps piling up accolades.

The West Virginia University sophomore, who developed a prosthetic device to help amputees when she was 16, has been named a 2012 Newman Civic Fellow.

Bomkamp, a political science major, was selected as one of 162 college students from 32 states for the honor, which recognizes student leaders who have worked toward finding solutions for challenges facing communities.

The fellowships are awarded by Campus Compact, a national collation of 1,200 college and university presidents committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education.

As a Newman Civic Fellow, Bomkamp will join a network of Fellows around the country. Together — sharing ideas and tools through online networking — the Fellows will leverage an even greater capacity for service and change, and will continue to set examples for their classmates and others.

“These students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders,” said Campus Compact Board Chair James B. Dworkin, chancellor at Purdue University North Central. “They serve as national examples of the role that higher education can – and does – play in building a better world.”

Bomkamp is one of four West Virginia students to be named a 2012 Newman Civic Fellow. The others are Robert Baker, Blue Ridge Community and Technical College; Robin Stillwater, Davis and Elkins College; and Jessica Wagner, West Virginia Wesleyan College.

This achievement is not the first for Bomkamp. Just last month, Bomkamp became the youngest person to ever present to the Royal Society of Medicine’s Medical Innovations Summit in London. The Society, a 24,000-member British charitable organization that provides medical education, invited Bomkamp to speak after officials read about her invention.

Bomkamp, a Waldorf, Md. native, developed the “Pain Free Socket” after seeing amputees struggle at Water Reed Army Medical Center. She and her father, a U.S. Air Force veteran, frequently visited the Bethesda, Md.-based facility.

The Pain Free Socket incorporates thermal-bio feedback into prosthetics to eliminate phantom pain in amputees. Phantom pain is caused by the brain continuing to send signals and commands to the limb. Bomkamp’s device would help force the brain to focus on the heat produced through thermal-bio feedback, rather than sending signals to the nonexistent limb.

Last year, she was named one of Glamour magazine’s 21 Amazing Young Women and her innovation has received worldwide media coverage that also includes CNN and the BBC.



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