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Sonoran Desert Institute

All the Latest News, Reviews and Developments happening with the Sonoran Desert Institute!

SDI Student of the Month: Brianna Phillips

Student-of-the-Month_Facebook Firearms have been a part of Brianna Phillips’ life every step of the way, and now they’ll be an even bigger part of her future. “I was always into firearms,” Brianna said. “I mean, I grew up with my dad and I always shooting. He carries every single day and has for the past 18-plus years. He’s always been a huge firearms advocate, so I enjoyed growing up around them.”

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Advisory Board Spotlight with Ray Vaughn

SDI ADVISORY BOARD SPOTLIGHT: RAY VAUGHN

It’s been said that knowledge gained through experience is superior and more useful than bookish knowledge, and there are few individuals who exemplify that more than Ray Vaughn of Jonesboro, Ga. With more than 20 years of professional gunsmithing experience, Vaughn’s knowledge far exceeds any textbook, and the Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI) is pleased to welcome him back as a member to the SDI Advisory Board.

Vaughn is a full-time professional gunsmith with experience ranging over more than two decades. He has spent time working for the Ginn group as a contractor, as well as at Fort McPherson and Fort Gillem as a depot level armorer. He holds multiple certificates of training from Colt, Glock, Sig Sauer, Smith & Wesson and more.

“Ray Vaughn is no newcomer to the firearms industry, and we’re very pleased to have him on the SDI Advisory Board,” says SDI Executive Director of Strategic Development Wes LeMay. “Ray knows all the tricks of the trade and he is always willing to share his knowledge with other gunsmiths and firearms enthusiasts. He is a true professional whose volume of knowledge serves as an inspiration to SDI students and alumni alike.”

Vaughn has also joined the production line-up of free, educational SDI Webinars. He recently guest hosted a SDI webinar during which Vaughn discussed common troubleshooting techniques for some of the most popular platforms, including AR-10/AR-15, 10/22, AK and Glock. The webinar was a huge success, and Vaughn will be guest hosting more educational webinars in the future. Based on Vaughn’s knowledge and experience as well as the viewer feedback from his first webinar, there’s no doubt these will be ‘must see’ events.

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KC Eusebio

KC Eusebio and the Infinity Open

All of us at Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI) wish to congratulate SDI-sponsored professional shooter KC Eusebio for his first-place win at the Infinity Open, recently held at the CCC Tactical range in Cresson, Texas. Eusebio smoked the competition, winning the Open Division by 99 points.

The Infinity® Open is a test of all shooting skills and this year welcomed more than 200 competitors. Every shooter must shoot Weak Hand, Strong Hand, On the Move, and from difficult positions. As they like to say at the Infinity Open, the winner will be the shooter who can do it all!

“We congratulate KC on his outstanding win at the Infinity Open,” said SDI Executive Director of Strategic Development, Wes LeMay. “KC is dedicated to providing the public — especially our nation’s youth — with greater firearm education, and we are proud to support him and his mission. By developing an overall greater appreciation for firearms, we can create a better career environment and path for success for all SDI students.”

Eusebio, who was the youngest USPSA master at 10 years old, is a member of both the International Practical Shooting Confederation and the United States Practical Shooting Association, and a Steel Challenge action shooting competitor who has been featured on the Hot Shots television series. He is a four-time Open World Steel Challenge Speed Shooting Champion and four-time Open U.S. National Steel Challenge Speed Shooting Champion.

Eusebio’s next competition will be the Florida State Steel Challenge on July 8, 2016.

Good luck, KC!

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Webinar with Kip Carpenter

Growing Your Gunsmithing Business Online and On-Ground, Featuring Kip Carpenter and Jennifer McInnis

Success in business often comes more from experience than from a textbook. Which is why Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI) is pleased to announce that this month’s free webinar features two experienced professionals who will reveal the secrets to growing a successful gunsmithing business, both online and on the ground.

The webinar, scheduled for June 28, 2016, welcomes professional gunsmith and SDI instructor Kip Carpenter, and SDI Director of Marketing, Jennifer McInnis. Carpenter has owned and operated a wide variety of gunsmithing shops ranging from small at-home businesses to large commercial operations, and McInnis brings to the table years of marketing experience that can benefit gunsmith shop owners of all levels.

SDI’s free, one-hour-long webinar will be on Tuesday, June 28, 2016, beginning at 8 p.m. EST. To register, go to https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3256695542016458755.

“So many students and friends have asked us how they can grow their new firearms businesses, and this webinar will outline approaches to both online as well as tried-and-true traditional marketing,” said SDI Executive Director of Strategic Development, Wes LeMay. “We’ll cover a variety of topics, such as defining demographics, business branding, social media, networking, and local outreach. Don’t miss ‘Growing Your Gunsmithing Business Online and On-Ground.’ And, because of the volume of information, don’t be surprised to see a soon-to-be sequel on this topic.”

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Dale Gibbons at Convention

The 2016 NRA National Meeting – An SDI Recap

Thomas Jefferson once said, “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.” And nowhere was that sentiment defended more fervently and passionately than at the recent 2016 NRA Annual Meeting held in Louisville, KY.

The NRA Annual Meeting covered over seven acres of more than 700 exhibitors featuring spectacular firearms displays, high-tech shooting and hunting gear, and priceless gun collections, as well exclusive seminars by the world’s most renowned industry professionals. The exhibits were free to all current NRA members, uniformed military, law enforcement personnel, and organized youth groups.

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SGT Michael Beckerman Memorial Scholarship

SDI Proudly Introduces the Beckerman Memorial Scholarship

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI), an industry leader in providing accredited and accelerated online learning, is proud to announce a new academic scholarship to assist active duty military personnel, veterans, and first responders in achieving Firearms Technology degrees. The SGT Michael Beckerman Memorial Scholarship and the Paul Jackson First Responder Scholarship are full scholarships, providing full tuition and fees. The SGT Michael Beckerman Memorial Scholarship is specifically reserved for individuals who currently serve in the armed forces or are veterans of military service and who are in good standing with his/her branch of service and/or who have received an Honorable Discharge. “We are very excited to provide these new scholarship opportunities to the men and women currently serving in our military, our honored veterans, and the first responders who put their lives on the line in communities across the country,” said SDI Executive Director of Strategic Development, Wes LeMay. “The training, experience, and professionalism of our military personnel and first responders make them uniquely qualified for the firearms industry, so we are pleased to provide these new funding opportunities through which they can achieve their academic and professional goals.” The scholarship is named in honor of a man who served his country with honor and distinction. SGT Beckerman served two tours in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and one tour in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. While serving his country on these deployments, SGT Beckerman enrolled in Sonoran Desert Institute and worked toward continuing his education. On Dec. 31, 2010, he made the ultimate sacrifice: SGT Beckerman was killed in action (KIA) in Howz-e Madad, Afghanistan. He is survived by his daughter, Brianna. The annual scholarship provides full tuition and fees for SDI’s Associate of Science in Firearms Technology degree program to two recipients, one in the fall semester and one in the spring. Applications must be submitted by midnight (MST) on December 1 for the spring award and by midnight (MST) on June 1 for the fall award. For eligibility requirements, please visit https://sdi.edu/scholarships/.

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Paul Jackson First Responder Scholarship

SDI Unveils Paul Jackson First Responder Scholarship

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI), an industry leader in providing accredited and accelerated online learning, is proud to announce a new academic scholarship to assist active duty military personnel, veterans, and first responders in achieving Firearms Technology degrees. The Paul Jackson First Responder Scholarship is a full scholarship, providing full tuition and fees. The Paul Jackson First Responder Scholarship is for individuals who are currently serving or are retired from the armed forces or law enforcement, or who are currently serving as or are retired firefighters or emergency medical technicians. “We are very excited to provide these new scholarship opportunities to the men and women currently serving in our military, our honored veterans, and the first responders who put their lives on the line in communities across the country,” said SDI Executive Director of Strategic Development, Wes LeMay. “The training, experience, and professionalism of our military personnel and first responders make them uniquely qualified for the firearms industry, so we are pleased to provide these new funding opportunities through which they can achieve their academic and professional goals.” The scholarship is named in honor of a man who served his country with honor and distinction.  Paul Jackson served in Bravo Company, 501st BN, 101st Airborne Division during World War II. As a paratrooper, Jackson made the jump into Normandy during Operation Overlord, the jump into Holland during Operation Market Garden, and was wounded on Jan. 12, 1945 in Bastogne, Belgium. The annual scholarships provide full tuition and fees for SDI’s Associate of Science in Firearms Technology degree program to two recipients, one in the fall semester and one in the spring. Applications must be submitted by midnight (MST) on December 1 for the spring award and by midnight (MST) on June 1 for the fall award. For eligibility requirements, please visit https://sdi.edu/scholarships/.  

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Salute Veterans National Honor Society

SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society

The Sonoran Desert Institute (SDI) has always demonstrated a deep commitment to serving the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, and today SDI is pleased to announce their new Charter Membership with the national SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society.  SDI’s affiliation with SALUTE will provide well-deserved recognition for the academic achievements and contributions of student veterans.

The SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society originates from the ACE/Wal-Mart Success for Veterans Grant, which was awarded to Colorado State University in 2009. SALUTE — an acronym for Service, Academics, Leadership, Unity, Tribute, and Excellence — is the first honor society created for student veterans and military personnel at two- and four-year higher education institutions nationwide.

“Bringing the SALUTE program to SDI is our way of honoring and acknowledging the academic achievements of those who have served and continue to serve our great nation,” said SDI Chief Military Liaison, Walter Howard. “Our service men and women have shown courage, strength, leadership, excellence, and perseverance in their military endeavors and are now showing that same commitment in their academic careers. Being part of the SALUTE honor society allows them to forge relationships with their peers that reach beyond the classroom.”

There are many outstanding benefits of SALUTE membership, including membership certificates, eligibility of members to apply and compete for national SALUTE scholarships (not yet available), and more. SALUTE has been specially structured to operate with low costs, so the majority of membership fees can be dedicated to scholarships for student veterans across the nation. These nationally awarded scholarships are designed to support student veterans who need supplementation of their GI Bill® funding or who do not have GI Bill funding.

To qualify for SALUTE membership, undergraduates must be currently enrolled as SDI students in the Associate of Science program; have completed a minimum of 12 semester hours; have a minimum 3.0 GPA ; be currently serving in the Armed Forces (Active Duty, National Guard, Reserves); and if veterans, must have been honorably discharged.

For more information about the SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society, visit https://sdi.edu/honor-societies/.

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