Meet the 2017 Tulip Queen & Court

Ashley Loggins: The 2017 Albany Tulip Queen

2017 Tulip Queen Finalists

From L to R: Erin Bryk, Ashley Loggins (Tulip Queen), Kelly Phillips, Julianna Rauf, Amanda Volk

Ashley Loggins, Age 23, Albany

Ashley is a graduate of Clarkson University with a degree in Chemistry and Biomolecular Science. She currently works at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. She has been involved in a variety of community service organizations, including Family Promise of the Capital Region, Glory House of Prayer Children's Summer Festival, American Cancer Society, Albany South End Children's Café, Habitat for Humanity, Vanderheyden Hall, and The Arc Program. In her free time, Ashley enjoys hiking, working with children, traveling, music and coaching basketball. As a member of the 2017 Tulip Court, her goal is to develop a "Literacy in the Park" event, where book donations are received for a day filled with food, entertainment, and literacy activities for children.

 

Erin Bryk, Age 21, Latham

Erin is a senior at Barnard College, Columbia University, graduating this May with a Major in Asian & Middle Eastern Cultures and Political Science. She plans to pursue a career in law and public service. During college, she's worked as a Criminal Division Intern at the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and a Constituent Affairs Intern at U.S. Senator Gillibrand's Office. Locally, Erin has volunteered at several organizations, including Colonie Youth Court, Shaker High School's Girls Take Charge Program, and the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society. She is an avid reader and enjoys photography, painting, and yoga. As a member of the 2017 Tulip Court, Erin is looking forward to serving as a role model and leader in the Albany community along with the rest of the Court and to helping young people to achieve their educational goals.

 

Kelly Phillips, Age 21, Loudonville

Kelly is a senior majoring in Psychology, graduating in May from Siena College. She works at North Colonie Central School as a Special Education Teacher Aide. She has volunteered with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Albany, has helped them plan and run several fundraising events, is a lifetime Girl Scout and troop leader, has traveled to South Africa to teach English at an orphanage and is a local volunteer Firefighter. She loves activities in the outdoors like hiking, camping and kayaking. She plays rugby for Siena and participates in local 5k's. As a member of the 2017 Tulip Court, Kelly hopes to create a literacy program that inspires the youth of Albany to make a difference in their communities.

 

Julianna Rauf, Age 19, Medusa

Julianna is a sophomore English major at Siena College. She tutors in the Siena College writing center and HEOP offices while also working at Stewarts Shops. She volunteers with the American Legion, Urban Scholars, Red Cross, and through Siena College working with international students and senior citizens. She enjoys sports, music, reading, writing, nature, and spending time with her chocolate lab. Julianna's goal as a member of the 2017 Tulip Court is to make a positive difference in the community by being an influential leader who brings out the best in others and herself through literacy.

 

Amanda Volk, Age 21, Albany

Amanda is a Graduate student working on her Masters of Public Health in the Epidemiology program at the University at Albany where she also completed her Bachelors Degree. She currently is a part of an internship program at General Electric. Amanda has experience volunteering with The Global Institute for Health and Human Rights and the New York State Public Health Association. She enjoys spending her time reading, cooking, exercising, traveling, yoga, and playing with her dog. Amanda's goals as a member of the 2017 Tulip Court are to develop a literacy project that would combine reading with public heath.

 

2016 Albany Tulip Queen & Court

2016 Tulip Court

From L to R: Racquel Saddler, Mariah Rickard, Adaviah Ward (Tulip Queen), Samantha Coons, Shannon Moquin

Adaviah Ward, Age 21, Albany - Tulip Queen

Adaviah 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, Guilderland

Samantha 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, Cohoes

Mariah 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, Albany

Racquel 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

2015 Tulip Court

From L to R: Alexandra Cronin (Tulip Queen), Morgan Elizabeth Heyward, Jacqueline Murphy, Eva Petkanas, Sarah Wilamowski

Alexandra Cronin, Age 22, Selkirk - Tulip Queen

Alexandra 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, Albany

Jacqueline 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, Albany

Eva 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, Guilderland

Sarah 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

2014 Tulip Queen & Court Jillian Callanan TaraMarie Crisafulli Caitlin Whelan Kasmira Wilkins Meghan Yi

From L to R: Jillian Callanan, TaraMarie Crisafulli, Caitlin Whelan (Tulip Queen), Kasmira Wilkins, Meghan Yi. Photos by Tom Miller.


Caitlin Whelan Caitlin Whelan, Age 20, Albany - Tulip Queen

Caitlin 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 Jillian Callanan, Age 20, Albany

Jillian 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 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 Kasmira Wilkins, Age 18, Albany

Kasmira 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 Meghan Yi, Age 23, Albany

Meghan 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

Mayor Jennings and Kate Bender, Meghan Cahil, Gigi Diffenback, Fendi Munoz, and Alexis Osborne

From L to R: Mayor Jennings, Kate Bender, Meghan Cahil, Gigi Diffenback, Fendi Munoz, Alexis Osborne

Kate Bender

Kate Bender, Age 18, Slingerlands - Tulip Queen

Kate 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.

 

MeghanCahill

Meghan Cahill, Age 19, Albany

Meghan 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

Gigi Diffenback, Age 21, Albany

Gigi 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

Fendi Munoz, Age 21, Albany

Fendi 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.

 

Alexis Osborne

Alexis Osborne, Age 22, Watervliet

Alexis graduated from Saint John's University with a degree in Legal Studies and will begin the graduate law program at Albany Law School this fall. The American Bar Association recently certified her as a paralegal. Alexis has volunteered as a youth representative for the United Nations Partnership for Global Justice and interned with the Brooklyn Nets, working closely to help NBA players give back to the community. She has also volunteered her time as a tutor and with the Ronald McDonald House, Relay for Life and Midnight Run programs. Alexis enjoys playing softball, basketball and soccer, traveling and reading. As a member of the 2013 Tulip Court, she looks forward to promoting literacy by showing children that they can achieve their dreams through a solid education.