Robert Brandenburg has yet to graduate from college, but the West Virginia University senior has already played a small but important role in government.

Brandenburg, a Kearneysville native, spent the summer as a Washington intern with the U.S. Department of Labor.

One of only 50 interns selected from a pool of several hundred applicants, the safety management major was assigned to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which sets and enforces standards to ensure the safety and health of Americas workers.

The goal of the summer intern program is to equip future leaders with skills required to succeed in the 21 st century workforce,said U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao.This intensive learning experience will help these students better prepare for their future careers.

Brandenburgs responsibilities included direct assistance with volunteer protection and cooperative state programs. He and other interns also participated in lectures from key White House officials and toured prominent national sites.

Working with the Department of Labor was an invaluable learning experience for me,Brandenburg said.There is so much to learn regarding the working world that you just cant learn in a classroom setting.

Brandenburg plans to pursue a full-time job with OSHA after graduation.