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Government Shutdown Stands In The Way Of One Man's Dream Internship At NASA

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

All week, we've been hearing from people whose lives have been upended by the partial government shutdown. For Alex Reed, an IT technician in South Carolina, the shutdown is standing in the way of his dream opportunity - an internship at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

ALEX REED: The internship was actually for research and development of electronic propulsion systems. It was going to be, like, a steppingstone for my career because what I've always wanted to do was be in research and development. And having this opportunity presented to me, I felt like a kid on Christmas morning when he gets his first bicycle. I didn't think it was possible that at my age - that I'd get offered an internship, especially for exactly what I wanted to do.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Alex Reed - his age is 37. The internship was supposed to start this coming Monday, but it is now on hold. Reed had already quit his job, but he says he's picking up some hours of work while he waits. He is hoping to hear good news from NASA soon. But so far, communication has been minimal.

REED: The way that they've worded the emails is that we'll get an email the day after the government opens up. I don't know how much time it's going to give us to report for orientation. I'm hoping it's more than 48 hours, but I have no idea because we don't have any information because they don't have any information.

CORNISH: Reed says he's not someone who follows politics. He had tuned out all the partisan fighting in Washington until now.

REED: You go from not caring, not paying attention, letting agendas be agendas and you just mind your own business and take care of yourself to now you have to try and figure out what's going on, if something's going to change, when it's going to change because now it affects you. It's frustrating, and it creates a lot of stress and anxiety.

KELLY: That's Alex Reed of South Carolina looking forward to the end of the partial shutdown so he can start his NASA internship in Cleveland. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.