Since he was 10 years old and designing forts with his friends, Michael Styles knew he wanted to build things.
Now as a Dawson County High senior, Styles is on track to build things professionally.
A member of the JROTC and actively involved with Technology Student Association, Styles is currently serving as an intern with Etowah Water and Sewer Authority organizing various schematic plans and preparing them for entrance into the authority's computer system.
"So far it's been really fun," Styles said. "I've learned a lot already and I'm sure I'll keep learning more. It's really giving me a more hands-on idea of what it's like to work in engineering."
Getting on-the-job training is one of the internship program's goals, according to Dianne Mayfield, the work-based learning coordinator at Dawson County High School.
"We want to give the kids an opportunity to work in an environment that is relevant to their career interests," Mayfield said. "And Brooke Anderson and John Cronan at Etowah have been great in getting Michael into that environment so he can see what it's like out in the real world."
Mayfield said this is the first year Styles has participated in the program and the first time the school has had an intern at the authority.
"Michael knows what he wants as far as his selected area of study," Mayfield said. "He's had the chance to take classes that fit in with his desired career and the folks at Etowah have been gracious enough to offer him a position that fits right in with that."
Styles said that he's always been good at math and that he likes to design and invent.
"I like to create and regardless of what I do after college, I plan to focus on that," Styles said.
After joining the JROTC program upon its inception, Styles said he gained an interest in joining the military.
"Most of my grandfather's generation served in the military," Styles said. "My great uncle served as military intelligence officer ... and that's what I'd like to do too."
Styles will attend North Georgia College & State University when he graduates high school and said he plans to join the Corps of Cadets.
"I'm planning on active duty regardless of what degree I decide on," Styles said. "But even if I do join military intelligence, I'd be most interested in designing the missions and things of that nature."
Styles explained his desire to join the military spawns from a sense of duty.
"My family has a history in the military and it just feel like that's where I can best serve my country," he said.
In addition to his interest in building and the military, Styles is also a third-degree black belt in tae kwon do.
"I've been in tae kwon do for about nine years," Styles said. "My whole family started together and worked our way up to eventually take over the studio."
He said that his family mainly runs a chicken farm, but also runs a martial arts studio in Dawson County.
"My mom, dad and brother all instruct at the studio," he said.
Styles is currently studying physics and honors literature in addition to the JROTC program and his internship.