The Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Other Minority Institutions (HBCU-OMI) Program—sponsored by the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) and administered by the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL)—invests in developing a U.S. workforce that is diverse and highly skilled in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through training and education grants. The HBCU-OMI Program is transformative for student researchers who will shape the future of the clean energy sector.

From February through June 2022, FECM highlighted students conducting research in STEM fields through the HBCU-OMI Program. Learn more about one of these students below! 


HBCU-OMI program participant Tyrome Fowlkes, Jr.

Tyrome Fowlkes, Jr.
Senior Undergraduate in Electrical and Computer Engineering
Morgan State University

What made you start pursuing studies in a STEM field and your particular area of specialization?
I would describe myself as a jack of all trades—my love for music technology led me to the STEM field and particularly the bridge between electrical engineering and engineering physics.

What research topics and/or technical areas have you worked on through this HBCU-OMI program?
My research consists of gas sensor detection with electrolysis, and the analysis of borides1 through x-ray powder diffraction2 and UV-Vis measurements.3

What aspect of your work through this program are you most proud of?
I am most impressed by the analysis of borides. This was my first time using the previously stated machinery, but the potential of boride really opened my eyes.

How has your research through the HBCU-OMI program helped you to learn more about your field and career opportunities?
This work has definitely opened my eyes to a career in research, and my professor and I are possibly working on publishing papers.

How do you feel your research helps to contribute to a sustainable, low-carbon energy future? 
The manipulation of boride could absolutely revolutionize the energy industry without a shadow of a doubt—needless to say, I am excited for future research.


To learn more about the HBCU-OMI Program, read our introductory blog post for this student spotlight series, download our infographic, and visit NETL’s University Training and Research page.  


1 Research on borides has applications in gas sensor detection and electrolysis. Borides are known to have excellent mechanical properties, but also are conductive and chemically stable under acidic conditions.
2 X-ray powder diffraction is an analytical technique primarily used to reveal the crystal structure of a material.
3 Ultraviolet-visible (UV-Vis) spectroscopy (or spectrophotometry) is a quantitative technique used to measure how much a chemical substance absorbs light. This is done by measuring the intensity of light that passes through a sample against the intensity of light through a reference sample or blank.