What is s3tem?

Soft Skills for STEM (S3TEM), funded by the National Nuclear Security Administration,  is the premier soft skills training and development program for STEM students and young professionals. Started in 2017 by Dr. Michelle B. Lee, S3TEM is experiencing explosive growth, rave reviews and has already impacted the lives of thousands of students and professionals from high schools, colleges, and universities around the country.


Program highlights include: 


  • National S3 Tour - Monthly seminars at colleges and universities around the world.
  • Annual Lessons Learned  S3 Workshop - an annual two-day, highly interactive and FUN workshop attended by S3TEM family from  across the globe.  
  • Virtual Success Lab  that provides videos, micro-learning activities, and practical soft skills building tools for individuals and groups.

What are soft skills?

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"Soft skills are personal abilities that improve human performance and facilitate effective interactions amongst people."  —Al Duncan, Master Soft Skills Trainer


Soft skills complement and support the technical requirements necessary to acquire and maintain employment.  S3TEM uses Al Duncan's 5 Soft Skills Clusters as the foundational framework for our tools, resources, & curriculum. 


The 5 Soft Skills Clusters are: 


  1. Communication Skills - includes verbal & nonverbal communication such as public speaking, active listening, body language, business writing, etc.  
  2. Decision making & Problem Solving Skills - examples: critical thinking strategies, creativity, ability to locate and use information 
  3. Team Work & Collaboration Skills – the ability to operate effectively in a team environment
  4. Self-management & Professionalism Skills -  examples: Emotional Intelligence, work ethic, time-management, attitude, integrity, resilience, predictability
  5. Leadership, Influence, & Persuasion Skills – examples: negotiation,  conflict management, managing diversity and inclusion, delegation      

Why are soft skills important for success?

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Pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines requires many years of knowledge and skill acquisition.  To become an effective professional requires time to identify and develop key professional skills for success in any chosen career. 


In particular, organizational savvy requires many soft skills to navigate the general business rules—the unwritten rules as well as the politics of a particular work culture.  Personal effectiveness includes a range of soft skills that if left unpracticed can derail the career of even the most accomplished professional.  

  

Some key benefits of having strong soft skills:


  • Highly valuable to employers 
  • Helps facilitate career advancement
  • Improved  co-worker and customer interactions
  • More effective relationship building and networking 
  • Transferable across jobs and careers       

About National Nuclear Security Administration

Check out this video featuring Dr. David Rude—Chief Learning Officer, NNSA—speaking at the Annual S3TEM Lessons Learned Workshop.

Exploring Los Alamos National Laboratory through the Bradbury Science Museum