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The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Doubt goes away with Professor PJ

Communications professor Patricia Harrs-Jenkinson instructs and inspires students in the intricate arts of effective communication, public speaking and critical thinking. Photo by || Kimberly Washington || [email protected]

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, no it’s Super PJ. Students won’t find her just anywhere, but she’s there when they need her. Super PJ is what they call her.

Fifty-one-year-old Patricia Harris-Jenkinson, aka PJ, teaches in the communication studies department at City College. If that wasn’t enough, she also has a private consulting business, has been married for 24 years and has two children, both in their teens, one with special needs.

Students who take a communication studies class from Harris-Jenkinson will discover an instructor who really cares about her students. They say they are drawn to this confident, yet vulnerable woman because she makes them feel better about themselves and always has a word of inspiration to offer.

Reymon Hernandez, 29, returned to City College after serving in the army for seven years and is a former student of Harris-Jenkinson’s. Hernandez had Harris-Jenkinson for “Introduction to Public Speaking” and was nervous and uncomfortable about getting up in front of a group. But he says the professor, in her special way, gave him the confidence not only to succeed but to excel in her class.

“She’s so warm and open,” Hernandez says with true admiration. “She’s very put together and organized.”

Harris-Jenkinson understands life’s challenges. Her oldest daughter has epilepsy and was born with hydrocephalus, which is similar to cerebral palsy. Every morning at 5 o’clock, Harris-Jenkinson begins her day by walking the working dog specifically trained to assist her oldest daughter, 17.

After the walk, it’s time to wake up the rest of the house and begin the daily schedule: feed the rabbit, make breakfast and prepare food for her daughter’s special daily diet. Harris-Jenkinson says she plans for every conceivable situation and adapts to whatever the day may bring. She says when you have a child with special needs means those needs come before anything else.

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Harris-Jenkinson recalls that she applied for a job as a Bank of America teller while attending college. “I didn’t get the job, so I stayed in school.”

Interestingly enough Harris-Jenkinson says she was fueled to succeed by her father. She says she would show him she could and would succeed even though he always said she couldn’t. And she did.

But she says her biggest influence was her mother, who was the first professional female photographer in Sacramento. Jenkinson’s parents owned and operated Harris Photography Studio in Sacramento for years until they retired.

“My mother is a huge role model for me,” says Harris-Jenkinson, with a proud smile. “She always encouraged me to take risks and try harder.”

A few years ago Harris-Jenkinson became re-acquainted with a former middle school friend who was on the swim team with her at James Rutter Jr. High School, and is now a colleague.

Lonnie Larson, math professor and longtime acquaintance, served with Harris-Jenkinson on the City College Distance Education Curriculum Committee.

“Trustworthy,” says Larson, when describing Harris-Jenkinson. “She is one of the most giving, helpful people I know.”

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