In her three years at West Virginia University, Katherine Bomkamp has garnered more worldwide recognition than many of us earn in a lifetime.
Bomkamp, a political science junior who invented a prosthetic device aimed to eliminate phantom pain in amputees, was bestowed with yet another honor Tuesday (April 2): She was named one of Glamour magazine’s 2013 Top 10 College Women.
To top that off, Bomkamp was selected from the 10 women recognized by Glamour for the L’Oreal Paris Beauty of Giving Award on Wednesday (April 3).
“Just to be considered one of 10 is a huge honor,” she said. “They probably received hundreds of applications from girls who probably deserve the recognition as much as I do.”
The Waldorf, Md. native will be featured in the May issue of Glamour, which hits newsstands April 9, and on Glamour.com with the headline “For vets who are suffering, she’s a hero.”
Bomkamp will join her fellow honorees in New York City this week as guests of the magazine. She will tour Rockefeller Center, Glamour and Facebook’s New York City office, and will be officially recognized at a ceremony/celebrity panel event Wednesday night that includes Anna Chlumsky, co-star of HBO’s “Veep,” and Jessica Williams, correspondent for “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.”
Her winning the L’Oreal Paris Beauty of Giving Award was announced during a Google Hangout that streamed live Wednesday night. Bomkamp joined Glamour’s editor-in-chief Cindi Leive and MSNBC’s Alex Wagner to discuss how young women can achieve their dreams.
This isn’t the first time Glamour has recognized Bomkamp. In 2011, the magazine named her one of 21 Amazing Young Women.
The daughter of a U.S. Air Force veteran, Bomkamp first developed the prosthetic as a 10th-grade science project after talking with amputees at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Dubbed the “Pain-Free Socket,” the device incorporates thermal-bio feedback into prosthetics to eliminate phantom pain in amputees. Phantom pain, experienced by about 80 percent of the world’s 10 million amputees, is caused by the brain continuing to send signals and commands to the limb.
Bomkamp said her company is starting to plan clinical trials and raise private funds for her device. A patent was issued last summer.
Since coming to WVU, Bomkamp has become one of the nation’s most celebrated students. She is the youngest person to ever present to the Royal Society of Medicine’s Medical Innovations Summit in London and was also one of 162 college students from 32 states to be named a Newman Civic Fellow.
Her innovation has received global media coverage that includes CNN, The New York Times, Popular Mechanics and BBC.
“It’s been a growing experience,” Bomkamp said. “I’ve learned a lot about myself through furthering my product and company. I’ve done it with the help of fantastic people, including people at WVU.”
With a year remaining at WVU, the future holds endless opportunities for, as she has described herself, “that girl with the leg” on campus.
Right now, her post-graduation plans will either be applying for a Rhodes Scholarship or trying to land a job with an innovative technology company, especially one that has incorporated women into STEM fields.
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