Capital Region Tulip Queen and Best Mom Finalists Announced

ALBANY — Five finalists have been selected to compete for the 2022 Albany Tulip Queen crown next Saturday at this weekend’s Tulip Festival, to become the 74th person to hold the title.

Mayor Kathy Sheehan introduced the finalists at a Friday press conference in Washington Park. While only one will be crowned queen, all five will work together on community service and literacy advocacy initiatives as the 2022 Albany Tulip Court, she said.

They were chosen from a pool of dozens of applicants by a committee of local leaders through an interview process based on their volunteer service, community commitment and leadership skills, the city said. The coronation will take place at Lakehouse Stage at noon on May 7 with Sheehan, 2021 Tulip Queen Ashanti’ Bishop, and Chad O’Hara of radio station B95.5 in attendance.

Tulip Queen Finalists

Ashley Mayfield, 20-year-old Troy, junior music industry student at the College of Saint Rose. She is director of the youth choir and co-director of the mass choir at her United Ordained church. She has volunteered in Troy’s annual back-to-school book bag drive with the Team HERO organization, at Grand Rensselaer Manor and Eddy Heritage nursing homes with Tamarac high school Kids Care. She went to Peru where she served as a dormitory that helps girls get educated; she also volunteers with AAOK’s annual Mother-Daughter Brunch, Troy Little League’s Safe Night, and College of Saint Rose’s annual Reach out community service program. Ashley is passionate about music and cooking, she also enjoys swimming and spending time with her family. As a member of the Tulip Court, she aspires to strengthen the community through acts of service and hopes to inspire others to do the same.

Sam Mills, 24, Albany, graduated from Saint Rose with a BFA in studio art. Since graduation, they have pursued stand-up comedy, working with companies hosting free open-mic nights and comedy shows. Sam has lived in Albany for seven years and is part of the social fabric of Center Square as a bartender at the Royal Palace. In their spare time, they like to paint, read history and philosophy books and play karaoke. As a member of Tulip Court, Sam hopes to inspire young people to speak out without fear through freedom of speech while teaching the importance of literacy and the power of education.

Sakti Muthukrishnan, 18-year-old Latham is an undergraduate student at the University of Albany, majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology, passionate about STEM, and inclined to provide her services to the community. Sakthi has volunteered at organizations such as Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital, Saratoga Children’s Museum, and Saratoga Art Center. She is open to opportunities and wants to expand her skills to be accepted into Albany Medical College. She is also a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success and the Presidential Honors Society. Dancing, drawing and painting are some of her favorite activities. As a member of Tulip Court, Sakthi hopes to strengthen the community through various literacy programs and design a pathway to connect community and culture.

Kathleen Nielsen, 22, Albany, is a senior graduate of Russell Sage College, majoring in psychology with a minor in sociology. She has volunteered at places such as Peer Mentor for Youth, Girl Scouts, Lions Club, Edan’s Rose Foundation and Vista for AmeriCorp. Kathleen will continue her studies in the fall to obtain a master’s degree in community psychology, counseling and forensic mental health. She has a passion to serve her community, no matter how busy her schedule is. Kathleen’s goal as a member of the Tulip Court is to raise awareness in the community about mental health and to organize hospitality events in all sections of Albany. She also plans to hold events to promote the LGBTQI+ community and newcomers who are establishing their lives here for a welcoming community for all. Kathleen will strive to have meaningful connections with everyone she meets and to unite our community into one.

Meghan O’Neil, 22, Albany, is completing his first year of graduate school at the College of Saint Rose, working on his MS.Ed. in science and communication disorders to become a speech therapist. She is a graduate assistant for the Friday Knights program for people with autism spectrum disorders in college and works as a direct support professional and respite worker for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Throughout her time in college, she has been involved with Best Buddies and currently volunteers with Girls on the Run. She is passionate about working and advocating for people with disabilities. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys running, hiking, snowboarding and exploring new foods and restaurants. As someone who grew up in Albany, Meghan’s goal as a member of Tulip Court is to be a positive role model for young people in the community and to highlight the importance of literacy for all.

For more information, visit or call 518 434 2032.

Capital Region Best Mom Contest

The City of Albany and St. Peter’s Health Partners Maternity Care, a member of Trinity Health, will recognize compassionate mothers in the 23rd annual Capital Region Mom of the Year competition, celebrating mothers who are are committed to their family and community while acting as role models having a positive impact on their children and loved ones.

More than 100 mothers have been nominated this year, making the judging process difficult, organizers said.

The five finalists are Schenectady’s Judy Becker, nominated by her friend Barbara Quakenbush; Suzanne Cecala of Castleton-on-Hudson, named by her daughter Erica Cecala; Rose Coleman of Guilderland, nominated by her daughter Kelly Hilland; Patricia Joyce-O’Toole of Voorheesville, nominated by her niece Diamond Mercedes; and Melinda Person of Guilderland, named by her mother Elaine Person.

B95.5 Albany Broadcasting’s O’Hara will introduce Mayor Sheehan and members of Tulip Queen Court to greet the five finalists on the Lakehouse Stage in Washington Park at noon on Sunday, May 8, Mother’s Day, during the Tulip Festival, a celebration of the city’s Dutch heritage.

Media sponsors are B95.5 FM, Times Union and [email protected]

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