The Sun News

Dixie Crows symposium returns to Warner Robins

The local chapter of the Association of Old Crows, known as the Dixie Crows, took over the Museum of Aviation last March during its 41st annual symposium, “Electronic Warfare/Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance: Today’s Innovations Countering Tomorrow’s Threats.” It exceeded expectations of participants, vendors and guest speakers for the technical conference.

“Symposium 41 goes down in the record books as the best attended one yet,” said Lisa Fruge-Cirilli, president of the Association of Old Crows. “We just keep getting better year after year.”

Most notable last year were over 2,200 registrants, 55 vendors showcasing their electronic warfare, classified presentations and a record number of awards given in 41 categories. For the third year, an event called the Crows N.E.S.T. — Novel Experiments with Science and Technology — focused on STEM fields for the students in the audience. The STEM fields are science, technology, engineering and math.

This year Dixie Crow Symposium 42 will be held March 19-23 at the Museum of Aviation. The Air Force technical program portion will be presented March 21-23. The timely theme is “Combating the Other Threat — Cyber Security in Electronic Warfare, Avionics and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance.” Complete details of the symposium, including registration, are available by contacting symposium Chairwoman Karen Brigance at 478-918-5618 or emailing kkbrigance@gmail.com.

“This is an important electronic warfare/information operations trade show,” Brigance said. “We are looking for academia, industry, government, military and other organizations to display their creative robotic talents and interactive technological products during this year’s fourth annual Crow’s N.E.S.T.”

“This is a great opportunity to interface with our STEM leaders of tomorrow.”

In the past, Mossy Creek Middle School and Houston County Career Academy have shared their robotics programs at the symposium.

The purpose of the STEM robotics displays and technology demonstrations is to offer an interactive experience for youngsters, parents and educators. The collaborative efforts are intended to engage and inspire the more than 400 students who will be attending from public and private schools as well as those who are home schooled.

“We will have 15 to 20 demonstrations going on as volunteers guide the youngsters through,” said Fruge-Cirilli. “We take our role as mentors of shaping and informing the leaders of tomorrow very seriously.”

Anyone who would like to participate in the Crow’s N.E.S.T. is invited to contact Robert Usher at 478-222-0022 or Scott Silence at scott.silence@gtri.gatech.edu. Students must register to participate.

The history of the Dixie Crows is long and impressive. Founded in 1968, it was named Chapter of the Year - Large Category consecutively 2010 through 2015 by the Association of Old Crows because of its successful partnership with civil servants, military and educational institutions.

Since 1979 when it established an education foundation, the Dixie Crows has awarded $904,000 in scholarship funds to over 600 enlisted military and civilians pursuing degrees to enhance careers in electronic warfare and information operations. Participating institutions are Georgia Tech, Mercer University, Middle Georgia State University and Fort Valley State University. The group also lends community support to Habitat for Humanity, places flags at Andersonville National Cemetery on Memorial Day and supports the Museum of Aviation with contributions of over $185,000 to date.

To learn more about becoming a member of the Association of Old Crows visit www.crows.org.

Marsha Priest Buzzell is executive director of the Warner Robins Convention & Visitors Bureau and may be contacted at 478-922-5100 or cvb@wrga.gov.

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