Tulip Queen & Court

2014 Albany Tulip Queen & Court

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2014 Tulip Queen finalists
2014 Tulip Queen finalists (from L to R): Jillian Callanan, TaraMarie Crisafulli, Caitlin Whelan, Kasmira Wilkins, Meghan Yi. Photos by Tom Miller.

imageJillian 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.

imageTaraMarie 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.

imageCaitlin Whelan, Age 20, Albany

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.

imageKasmira 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.   

imageMeghan 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 & The 2013 Tulip Queen & Court: (From L to R): Albany Tulip Queen Kate Bender and Court Members Meghan Cahill, Gigi Diffenback, Fendi Munoz, and Alexis Osborne. Portrait photos courtesy of Michael A. Panzarino of M.A.P. Graphics

imageTulip 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.

imageTulip 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.

imageTulip 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.

imageTulip 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


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