I, Daniel Shankle, am writing this letter to describe my time with the Sentinels of Freedom (SOF). From start to finish, I was very impressed with the entire process. The application process went smoothly, and I thought everything involved with it was appropriate for what the program was offering. The web portal was not difficult to navigate, and the online instructions were well put together, making it easy to complete the process. Having a point person for me to contact took all the stress away from reaching out to the organization, as Samantha Chapman was always available to answer my questions and guide me along the process. As far as the process goes, I’m not sure I could offer any insight on how to make it better. I was extremely impressed with how smooth everything ran and greatly appreciated that aspect of the program.

The two major points of the program I was able to take advantage of was the scholarship and personal assistance for help with my resume and other guidance. I thought the most beneficial aspect was the Scholarship provided by the Sentinels of Freedom; because of this, I was able to work numerous unpaid internships in the digital marketing field. While there are paid internships, they very few in number and highly competitive. The monthly stipend helped me cover my rent, especially in the summer months when the GI Bill’s housing allowance was cut off when I wasn’t in class. This stipend provided me with a great opportunity to explore the digital marketing field firsthand while gaining valuable experience. Not having to worry about my financials allowed me to be to put all my effort into learning about the field I wanted to work in after graduation.

Before completing my BBA in Marketing from the University of San Diego, I began to apply for jobs at digital marketing agencies in San Diego. These agencies are highly competitive as numerous students from the surrounding universities apply for the limited slots available every year. Because of my internship experience, I was able to land an interview with, Seer Interactive, a highly rated digital marketing agency in downtown San Diego. As I progressed through the very in-depth interview process, it became clear that I didn’t have some software skills and the agency experience needed for the full-time position I was applying for. However, during the four interviews, I conducted, I was able to impress the team with my desire to learn the field and work ethic, demonstrated by the things I had accomplished while at my internships. Because of this, I was offered a slot in their competitive summer internship program with a path to hire upon completion. I am very excited about this opportunity as I knew I lacked the agency experience and some of the software skills needed for the full-time position I was applying for. Seer Interactive extended me an offer to teach me these things, providing me a path to become an SEO Associate upon completing their three-month internship program.

Starting a career with a top digital marketing agency is extremely difficult as there are very few positions available, with numerous college grads applying for them. The SOF Scholarship provided me with an opportunity to work numerous internships while completing my degree. This provided me with numerous job descriptions for my resume and discussion topics I could talk about during the interview process. Had I not had the scholarship; I might have had to sacrifice interning in my field for a paid position not related to marketing. Then I would have lacked the much-needed experience to be competitive during the interview process. Because of this, I am extremely grateful for the Sentinels of Freedom, as their scholarship allowed me the opportunity to continue on my desired path.


Dan Shankle