Meet the 2016 Tulip Queen & Court
Adaviah Ward: The 2016 Albany Tulip Queen
From L to R: Racquel Saddler, Mariah Rickard, Adaviah Ward (Tulip Queen), Samantha Coons, Shannon Moquin
Adaviah Ward, Age 21, Albany - Tulip QueenAdaviah is a Liberal Arts major at Hudson Valley, planning to go on to obtain her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education. She is working locally at the Lexington Center. Adaviah volunteers regularly with Albany Community Charter School and the Mount Pleasant Baptist Church. She enjoys spending her time reading, journaling, singing in choir, and working with her church's youth group. Adaviah's goals as a member of the 2016 Tulip Court are to help develop educational programs for kids outside of the classroom, and to act as a mentor and role model for the community.
Samantha Coons, Age 19, GuilderlandSamantha is currently enrolled at Siena College, pursuing a degree in Economics. She hopes to attend graduate school to continue her education in Health Service Administration or Economic Policy. She works as a gymnastics coach and as an intern in the New York State Senate. Samantha is the Volunteer Service Chair for the Siena College Red Cross Executive Board, organizing community service events including blood drives and an annual 5K charity race. She enjoys spending time with her family and working on DIY craft projects. Her goal as a member of the 2016 Tulip Court is to empower and encourage children through literacy programs.
Shannon Moquin, Age 19, Albany
Shannon is a sophomore attending The University at Albany, working towards her degree in Public Policy. Shannon works as a counselor at a YMCA summer camp every year. She is involved in a variety of community service organizations, including Habitat for Humanity and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She volunteered on a service mission to Haiti, where she taught reading and math at two orphanages. In her free time, Shannon enjoys traveling and going to the movies with her sisters. As a member of the 2016 Tulip Court, her goal is to create an initiative combining literature and geography, teaching children about different cultures around the world.
Mariah Rickard, Age 20, CohoesMariah is a junior Economics major attending The University at Albany. Mariah works at Kidz Korner Child Care Learning Center in Latham. She has volunteered as a camp counselor, a tutor for area high schools and at the Community Plunge Program in Ithaca. She loves camping, hiking and roller derby, and is the founder of the Nerf Club at UAlbany. As a member of the 2016 Tulip Court, Mariah hopes to design a program that encourages children to write and illustrate their own stories to promote imagination, self-esteem, and self-expression.
Racquel Saddler, Age 23, AlbanyRacquel is currently a first-year student at Albany Law School. She graduated from The University at Albany with a degree in Political Science. Racquel has worked as a White House intern and locally in the New York State Senate and the Schaffer Law Library. She has volunteered at the Pine Hills Neighborhood Cleanup for the past four years. She enjoys singing, dancing, running and yoga. Racquel's goal as a member of the 2016 Tulip Court is to implement a literacy program that benefits local children and the community at large.
2015 Albany Tulip Queen & Court
From L to R: Alexandra Cronin (Tulip Queen), Morgan Elizabeth Heyward, Jacqueline Murphy, Eva Petkanas, Sarah Wilamowski
Alexandra Cronin, Age 22, Selkirk - Tulip QueenAlexandra is currently taking classes at the University at Albany in hopes of continuing on to physician assistant school. She graduated from SUNY Brockport with a double major in Dance and Exercise Physiology and now works part-time as a personal trainer at Albany Medical Center. Her volunteer experience includes helping to organize Relay for Life events, a dance benefit to honor leukemia patients, and a Christmas toy drive for children at hospitals. In her free time, Alexandra loves to dance and exercise. Her goal as member of the 2015 Tulip Court is to incorporate exercise events in the classroom and community.
Morgan Elizabeth Heyward, Age 18, Albany
Morgan is a freshman at Russell Sage College working towards her degree in Theatre. Her volunteer experience includes tutoring children and working with the Regional Food Bank, the Albany Police Athletic League, soup kitchens and local animal shelters. In her free time, Morgan enjoys reading, writing poetry, acting and working backstage for theater productions. As a member of the 2015 Tulip Court, her goal is to create an initiative using literature, film and art to support diversity and educate children about other cultures.
Jacqueline Murphy, Age 23, AlbanyJacqueline graduated from Hobart and William Smith Colleges in 2014 and is now working towards finishing her clinical experience hours in hopes of being accepted to Albany Medical Center's Physicians Assistant Graduate Program. She has volunteered for the Special Olympics Basketball Clinic, Geneva Living Center, Geneva YMCA and the Happiness House. She loves spending time with her family, playing sports and being outdoors. As a member of the 2015 Tulip Court, Jacqueline hopes to start an educational program for young children in the community that helps teach them to make positive life choices and create awareness about bullying.
Eva Petkanas, Age 22, AlbanyEva graduated from the University at Albany in May 2014 with a degree in Public Policy. She has volunteered at Albany Public Library, Center Square Association, and Aurora Foundation. She enjoys hiking, swimming and going on jogs around Albany to get to know the city better. Eva's goal as a member of the 2015 Tulip Court is to emphasize fitness while encouraging young learners to read.
Sarah Wilamowski, Age 20, GuilderlandSarah is a current senior at the University at Albany who studies Forensic Chemistry. She is an active member of Alpha Phi Omega, a community service organization that participates in several volunteer efforts, including Habitat for Humanity Habitat Restore and highway cleanups. She enjoys spending her time outdoors camping, hiking, swimming, and running, and hopes to complete a marathon within the next few years. Sarah's goal as a member of the 2015 Tulip Court is to increase writing and literacy skills in local classrooms.
2014 Albany Tulip Queen & Court
From L to R: Jillian Callanan, TaraMarie Crisafulli, Caitlin Whelan (Tulip Queen), Kasmira Wilkins, Meghan Yi. Photos by Tom Miller.
Caitlin Whelan, Age 20, Albany - Tulip QueenCaitlin is a sophomore at Siena College, where she majors in Psychology with a minor in Health Studies. She is an advocator for the Shared Hope International program, and her volunteer experience includes work with Relay for Life, the Schenectady Mission, Siena Residential Life service trips, National Honor Society and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Walk. Caitlin enjoys volleyball, basketball, swimming, hiking and playing guitar in her spare time. After obtaining her degree, she aspires to enter into the field of Occupational Therapy. Caitlin's goal as a member of the 2014 Tulip Court is to advocate literacy while teaching valuable lessons on the effectiveness of community and creativity as tools to accomplish goals.
Jillian Callanan, Age 20, AlbanyJillian is a sophomore at Union College, where she majors in American Studies and minors in Dance. She's volunteered with the Teresian House, Little Sisters of the Poor and the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, and spends nearly every weekend caring for her elderly grandparents. Jillian is a member of the Union College Dance Team and is working on creating a program to provide a weekly youth dance class. Much of Jillian's free time is devoted to her lifelong passion for dance, but she also loves animals and crafting. As a member of the 2014 Albany Tulip Court, Jillian hopes to build children's leadership and literacy skills by developing programs that incorporate community interaction and local history.
TaraMarie Crisafulli, Age 21, Loudonville
TaraMarie is a junior Psychology major at Siena College, minoring in English. She is a Siena Bonner Service Leader, volunteering weekly to tutor middle school students in English skills and host an after-school club focused on globalizing education and raising awareness of social diversity. Her community service experience also includes work with Habitat For Humanity, the Siena Soup or Sandwiches Program and the Damietta Cross Cultural Center. Her favorite hobby is baking for her family and friends. TaraMarie aspires to become a teacher and Principal, and as a Tulip Court member she hopes to inspire young people to become involved, responsible members of their community.
Kasmira Wilkins, Age 18, AlbanyKasmira is a graduating senior at Bishop Maginn High School, where she is a member of the National Honor Society and a seven-letter varsity athlete. Kasmira has volunteered with Equinox, the Stephen and Harriett Myers House, Underground Railroad Community Service, St. Sophia's Simple Day of Giving and the Ronald McDonald House, and also coordinates teen programs and community service projects as the Teen President of the Greater Albany Chapter of Jack and Jill of America. Kasmira is a dedicated member of her school's volleyball, track and basketball teams and enjoys baking and reading in her free time. She hopes to play a positive and pivotal role in the lives of Albany youth as a Tulip Court member.
Meghan Yi, Age 23, AlbanyMeghan is a first-year medical student at Albany Medical College and holds a degree in Biology from Siena College. Her volunteer experience includes mentoring Albany students as a Team Leader for Project SOAR, biking across America to raise awareness for affordable housing, and teaching math and English to elementary school students in Namibia. In her free time, Meghan enjoys running, biking, crafting, playing guitar and singing with Siena's Praise & Worship group. She plans to pursue a career in primary care after graduation. As a member of the 2014 Tulip Court, Meghan intends to develop fresh, creative programs to continue the Court's longstanding tradition of service and community-building.
2013 Albany Tulip Queen & Court
From L to R: Mayor Jennings, Kate Bender, Meghan Cahil, Gigi Diffenback, Fendi Munoz, Alexis Osborne
Kate Bender, Age 18, Slingerlands - Tulip QueenKate is a freshman Business major at Siena College. Through the Siena Bonner Service Leaders Program, Kate works as a recruitment and outreach intern for the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York. She helps teach English to local refugee students and volunteers as a Girl Scout leader. Kate is a co-host of WVCR's Change Makers radio program and is an active volunteer with the American Cancer Association, the Teresian House and Refugees & Immigrant Support Services of Emmaus. Kate is a part of the Siena College dance team and loves to spend time with her friends and family. As a 2013 Tulip Court member, Kate hopes to establish sustainable programs for the Mayor Jennings Literacy Campaign in order to empower local youth and help to create a close-knit community.
Meghan Cahill, Age 19, AlbanyMeghan attends the College of Saint Rose, majoring in Social Work with a minor in Criminal Justice. She works as a teaching assistant for an after-school program at TSL Daycare and as a weekly respite worker for handicapped children. Meghan's volunteer experience includes tutoring students and working with the Capital District Lyme Disease Association, St. Peter's Hospital, Guilderland Pop Warner, Reach Out Saint Rose Day, the City Rescue Mission and Mater Christi School. Meghan enjoys exercising, cooking, baking, and spending time with her family and dog. As a member of the 2013 Tulip Court, her goals are to encourage children in the community to chase their dreams and to serve as a role model for young girls.
Gigi Diffenback, Age 21, AlbanyGigi is a senior at the College of Saint Rose, majoring in Childhood Education with a concentration in Earth Science. As a volunteer, Gigi traveled to New Orleans' lower Ninth Ward twice to aid in Hurricane Katrina efforts, assisted at co-ops and local gardens in Washington, DC, and worked with Christmas in Action in Spartansburg, South Carolina to repair homes of aging individuals. Locally, she's participated in Hurricane Irene relief, mentored at-risk youth at Help Yourself Academy and is involved in various projects with Saint Rose. Her hobbies include baking, singing and enjoying time with loved ones and animals. As a member of the 2013 Tulip Court, Gigi's goals are to promote the importance of the community's history and to create unity between residents of all ages.
Fendi Munoz, Age 21, AlbanyFendi is a University at Albany junior, studying Sociology with a minor in Criminal Justice. She currently works as an intern in the office of Assemblyman Francisco P. Moya. Fendi has volunteered as an organizer for a series of NYU-sponsored workshops on topics concerning youth and women's issues. She has also participated in the University at Albany's Cinderella Project, working as a personal shopper to help underprivileged high school girls buy a dream dress for the prom. Fendi enjoys singing, acting, dancing, reading and spending time with friends. As a member of the 2013 Tulip Court, she hopes to inspire children to read and grow so that they can one day reach their dreams.