BOUNTIFUL -- Spencer Thueson interns for Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, but his biggest thrill to date in Washington, D.C., was attending Democratic President Barack Obama's State of the Union address.
"He definitely knows how to speak," Thueson said of Obama's oratory skills, but the Bountiful native was quick to point out that he didn't agree politically with a lot of what the president had to say.
"I believe what the president mentioned in his address is contrary to what he has been doing while in office," said Thueson, who is one of 11 interns working the phones, providing tours and doing research for Lee's office.
"It was absolutely an incredible experience," Thueson said of attending the address that for years he has watched on television with his father. He was able to attend the event thanks to the luck of a draw with the other interns in the office.
"When I was there, it was just incredible to see all the high-profile people walk in," said Thueson, who referred to the Jan. 24 address as a "humbling experience."
He said he is able to relive the experience because Lee's media staff shot video of the event.
"I have always had a fascination with government (and) politics," he said. "I come from a very patriotic family, my grandfather having served in World War II."
Thueson said besides that, he loves being in the mix of where the most important decisions for the country are made.
"Spencer is a great asset for my office, and I appreciate all the work he's doing for us," Lee said.
"We are fortunate to have him with us for the semester," he said.
Thueson, 27, who attended Bountiful High School, is poised to graduate in August from the University of Utah with a major in international business and a minor in Chinese.
Thueson began his internship in January and will remain with the senator's office through the remainder of the Salt Lake City university's current semester, taking him through the first of May, said Emily Bennion, press secretary for Lee's Capitol office.
Thueson said he is surprised by the amount of work that goes into running a senator's office.
"It is set up like a business," he said.
And based on his experience, Thueson would recommend that others interested in public service do an internship with a congressman or senator.
"I encourage high school students and young people to get involved with politics, whether it is on the national stage or within their own community," he said.
Working in the nation's capital has helped Thueson understand how the country's government functions. He wishes his interest in public service had started before he graduated from high school.
But while Thueson reflects on his past, his mother, Marci Thueson, says what her son is doing now will serve him well in the future.
Serving as an intern for Lee is giving him a great opportunity to make future job connections, Marci Thueson said.
Studying Chinese has allowed him to serve as a guide for Chinese tour groups visiting Washington.
Following his internship, Thueson said, he intends to study in China to finish the courses he needs to graduate in August.