Tulip Queen Kate Bender, Age 18, Slingerlands
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.
Tulip Court member 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.
Tulip Court member 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.
Tulip Court member 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.
Tulip Court member 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.
Tulip Court member Nicole Branchini, Age 22, Slingerlands
Nicole is a 2011 graduate of the University of Albany, holding a degree in History with a minor in Education. She currently works as a graduate assistant for the University of Albany’s Athletic Department. Nicole’s volunteer experience includes work with Relay for Life, Guilderland Youth Lacrosse, the American Cancer Society, the AIDS Council and Adopt-a-Family. She spends her free time reading, cooking and playing sports. Nicole would like to turn her knowledge of communications and her love of coaching and mentoring into a career as a high school or collegiate athletic administrator. As a 2012 Tulip Court member, Nicole plans to help provide opportunities for area youth by developing programs that combine athletics and academics.
Tulip Court member Millie Condon, Age 19, Watervliet
Millie is a student at Siena College, double majoring in Education and French. She is currently employed at the Rudy A. Ciccotti Family Recreation Center. Millie has volunteered her time as a North Albany Girl Scouts leader, a Siena Bonner Service leader, the co-host of WVCR’s ChangeMakers radio show and with the Albany Boys & Girls Club. In her spare time, she enjoys art, movies, reading and running. After obtaining her degree, Millie plans to pursue a career in teaching and one day become a school principal. As a member of the 2012 Tulip Court, her goals are to create strong new programs for the Mayor Jennings Literacy Campaign and to be an excellent role model for young people in the Albany community.
Tulip Court member Nicole Dama, Age 21, Albany
Nicole is a senior at the College of Saint Rose, studying Public Communications with a minor in Social Justice. Nicole’s volunteer experience includes work with Habitat for Humanity, the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum and the College of Saint Rose’s Friday Knights program and Reach Out Saint Rose Day. She enjoys theatre, singing, photography, kayaking and exploring Albany by bicycle. In the future, Nicole hopes to do communication work for a social justice organization and eventually become a motivational speaker. As a 2012 Tulip Court member, she would like to help young people develop their leadership skills and self-esteem while inspiring an interest in reading.
Tulip Queen Emily Finnegan, Ages 20, Albany
Emily is a junior at the University of Albany studying Political Science and Globalization Studies. Her volunteer work includes educating children in India and participating in a Habitat for Humanity project in Guatemala. Locally, she is a board member for the Albany Student Association’s Committee of Community Engagement, serving organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House and Autism SPEAKS. Emily is a member of UAlbany’s Cross Country and Track and Field teams and enjoys cooking and dancing in her free time. After graduating in 2013, she hopes to empower students through either non-profit or public service work. Her goals as the 2012 Albany Tulip Queen are to serve as a mentor to local children and to promote a sense of community in the Albany area.
Tulip Court member Jillian LeFevre, Age 22, Ravena
Jillian graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2011 with a degree in Business Management, a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Electronic Arts. She has volunteered as a children’s dance instructor and with summer literacy programs, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Kids Giving to Kids and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. In her free time, Jillian enjoys painting, photography, music and outdoor sports. She plans to attend graduate school and would like to attain a career incorporating marketing and electronic arts. As a 2012 Tulip Court member, she hopes to inspire a love of reading in local children through the Mayor Jennings Literacy Campaign and to establish a ballroom dance program to help kids develop their confidence and self-esteem.