Student featured at international medical summit
Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 00:02
West Virginia University sophomore Katherine Bomkamp is proof that young people can accomplish big things.
Bomkamp recently had the opportunity to present her invention, "The Pain Free Socket," to the Royal Society of Medicine in London at its Medical Innovations Summit as the youngest presenter to ever take the stage.
Bomkamp invented the prosthetic device, designed to alleviate the sensation of phantom pain experienced by thousands of amputees, when she was just 16.
The device, created as a 10th-grade science project, grew into an innovative business and an opportunity to help amputees affected by phantom limb pain, which has no medication specifically geared toward treating it.
During her 25-minute presentation on the device, Bomkamp shared how "The Pain Free Socket" was invented to a crowd of nearly 300 medical professionals and participated in a question-and-answer panel.
"I had 25 minutes to explain the product, and how I produced it, how it came to be and how I came to be where I am today," she said.
As the only college student to have ever presented to the society, Bomkamp said the opportunity to present in London was one she will treasure.
"The experience was unreal," she said. "Most audiences I speak to don't have a medical background, so they don't fully understand the product and its implications. So this made a big difference to me, and I took a lot away from it."
Bomkamp said she hopes her story can serve as an inspiration and open doors for other young inventors.
"My story is unique because I don't have an engineering background," Bomkamp said, a political science student at WVU. "Anyone can do what I did – it's all about having confidence and knowing you can do something."
In November, Bomkamp was listed as one of Glamour Magazine's "21 Amazing Young Women" for her innovation. She has also received worldwide attention and coverage from media organizations including CNN, BBC and The New York Times.
Bomkamp said she was thrilled to have the opportunity to listen to other inventors share their products at the Summit and to make connections with others who work within the science, technology, engineering and math fields while representing the University.
"It was a really great experience to travel," she said. "To be able to go to another country and represent WVU was an incredible experience."
To view Bomkamp's presentation to the RSM visit http://www.rsm.ac.uk/index.php. To learn more about Bomkamp and "The Pain Free Socket," visit www.bomkamp.blogs.wvu.edu.