Whether he's assisting with technical issues or observing experts programing software, Shawnee High School senior Kolby Shadaram spends his days as an IT apprentice for the Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN).

According to the 17-year-old, he helps the IT department for the entire tribe and through this apprenticeship, he has learned what path he wants to take for the future.

"At first I really wanted to do software, but then I found this and it just seems pretty interesting," Shadaram said. "I just wanted to see how IT from experience was...It's been pretty helpful for me and now its just opened my options on what kind of technology I want to do career-wise."

Shadaram said he has always enjoyed technology and appreciates the opportunities he has experienced.

"I've been really interested in advancements and future type technology that has been worked on for a while," Shadaram said.

Shadaram explained initially he started as an intern, but now CPN is paying him for his services which makes him an apprentice and he is grateful to be working in a professional capacity.

"I've benefited just to see the atmosphere career wise because I've never really worked," Shadaram said. "That has also really helped me to see how working for the tribe (is)."

Shadaram's mentor, IT Help Desk and Project Manager Shelly Blassingame, said he is learning many different aspects of IT and he's working hard.

"He does really well. He's very mature for a high school student and he is super willing to learn," Blassingame said. "He follows all the techs around...I want him to get a broad experience on how each one troubleshoots."

Blassingame said Shadaram comes in with a smile, he's a quick learner and the tribe is happy to have him.

"I think that being able to say he has this experience will have him a step above (other students)," Blassingame said. "You can have education, but he actually has on the job experience which will be beneficial."

Shadaram will continue his apprenticeship into the Spring semester and he said he is able to mainly focus on his work with CPN.

"It seems pretty nice because it just makes me learn thoroughly on this type of career," Shadaram said.

Through his apprenticeship, he has decided to explore other directions of the technological field.

"I've been wanting to go into programming, but since I've been working in IT I just want to see other career choices and just see how that goes," Shadaram said.

Shadaram said he is thinking about attending Seminole State College for his basic class requirements and then attending a larger university for the rest of his education.