SELDP graduates with program and NASA leadership (left to right): NASA Chief Engineer Ralph Roe, NASA Chief Knowledge Officer Roger Forsgren, MSFC SELDP Advocate Nelson Parker, SE Tech Fellow Jon Holladay, Lisa Smith, Robert Rivera, David Rutishauser, Leslie Ringo, Stacey Bagg, Sean Laughter, LaRC SELDP Advocate Junilla Applin, Paul Mogan, SELDP Project Manager Kevin Magee, NASA Deputy Chief Engineer Dawn Schaible, NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot, and SELDP Leadership Coach Cindy Zook. Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

2017 SELP graduates with program and NASA leadership.
Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

SELP is a comprehensive program that provides leadership development, technical hands-on experience, leadership and technical training, benchmarking, mentoring, and coaching. The program’s basis for design is founded in The Art and Science of Systems Engineering [ Full | Short ], the NASA Systems Engineering Behavior Study, and Behavior Competency Model. The behaviors exhibited by NASA’s highly valued systems engineers fall into five broad themes with associated competencies and their observable behaviors: leadership, attitudes and attributes, communication, problem solving and systems thinking, and technical acumen. Strategic thinking and political savvy are two additional leadership skills identified by NASA’s follow-on study of technical executives and are also covered in SELP.

SELP provides systems engineers with an agency-wide perspective, hands-on systems engineering developmental assignments beyond what they can learn and experience at their home centers, advanced leadership skills development, and exposure to innovative government and industry-wide systems engineering concepts.

Since its inception, SELP has achieved a consistent 90 percent success rate of individuals transitioning into more complex and difficult positions upon returning to their organizations after completion of the program.

Morpheus, an SELDP assignment project. Photo Credit: NASA

Juno, an SELP assignment project.
Photo Credit: NASA

Program Components

  • Hands-on Technical Assignments – Hands-on developmental assignments are a core requirement of SELP. Assignments are 9 months in duration at an assigned Center.
  • Leadership Development Workshops – Workshops focus on leadership, attitudes and attributes, communication, political savvy, problem solving, and systems and strategic thinking
  • Assessments – Assessment instruments are used to help participants gain a greater understanding of their strengths and areas for development
  • Mentoring – All participants are assigned a mentor
  • Center and Industry Benchmarks – Benchmarking with other NASA Centers and outside organizations to expand participants understanding/awareness of effective systems engineering and leadership choices

Key Dates and Programs

  • February 1, 2018 – Call for Nominations & Assignments
  • April 16, 2018 – Nominations & Assignments Due
  • June 21, 2018 – Candidate Interviews
  • August 27-31, 2018 – SELP Orientation
  • See Core Programs for Leadership Workshop Dates

Leading from the Inside Out Poster  Credit: NASA

Leading from the Inside Out Poster
Credit: NASA


  • Technical assignments round out core SE competencies providing engineers with end-to-end life cycle experience
  • Exposure to innovative SE Organizations (Government/Industry) drives innovative thinking
  • Advanced Leadership Skills Development builds NASA’s future leaders
  • Exposure to other NASA Centers breeds understanding, builds relationships, and offers new ways of doing business
  • SELP Retention Rate is 98.4% since inception
  • SELP develops SE Leaders faster than traditional training methods

Core Leadership and Engineering Programs*

* Dates subject to change