On a flight from Iowa to Washington, D.C., last year Andrew Lauver, of Rockwell City, sat next to U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley.
Lauver, who said he's always been interested in politics and legislation, took advantage of his time with the Republican who is Iowa's senior senator.
''I just asked him a lot of questions and then he said I should apply for an internship in his office,'' Lauver said.
He submitted an application and is now working as an unpaid legislative intern in Grassley's Washington office.
He started working there on Jan. 18, almost exactly a month after graduating from Iowa State University in Ames with a bachelor's degree in agriculture.
His duties include conducting research to assist other staffers, handling both electronic and postal mail, and doing office chores.
Whenever possible, he tries to focus on work related to agriculture.
Lauver said he doesn't really have a regular routine at the office because the issues are continously changing.
''Things just change so fast,'' he said. ''It really changes on a day-to-day basis, which I like.''
He works from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill. Sometimes he goes to the Capitol to watch the Senate in action.
Lauver said he sees Grassley on a daily basis.
''He always wants to be sure you're learning because that's what the whole experience is supposed to be about,'' he said. ''He takes notice and appreciates what his interns do.''
The intern has found that he's far from the only 20-something person working in the nation's capital.
''It seems like this town is run by people from 25 to 30,'' Lauver said.
He added that meeting those other young people is the one of the best parts of his internship.
However, Lauver said he has found himself having to educate people about his state, especially when someone who evidently confuses Iowa with Idaho inquires about the potato crop.
He said he's convinced that growing up in rural Iowa ideally prepared him for the Senate internship. He added that he feels like he is helping his home state through his efforts in Washington.
''I do feel like I'm serving Iowans just by being here and helping the senator,'' Lauver said.
His internship will conclude in mid-May.