The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Dedicated photography assistants goes the distance to guide students; Penelope Kahn drives 12K miles a semester to campus


Julie Jorgensen

Former Express Staff Photographer

[email protected]


Walking up the stairs of City College’s Student Service building, you will see the Russ Solomon Gallery. Photographs display the talent that students and professional photographers have with a camera.

If you wander farther down the hall, photography studios are tucked away on the left, where students put together assignments. What’s also noticeable is a tall, dark curly-haired mother figure, running around and watching over photography students, giving them advice to improve their work.

Penelope Kahn, City College photography tutor, is devoted to helping students bring forward their full potential.

“I am dedicated to our students and will do what I can to help them to achieve successful results,” she says. “Helping students makes their day a little less stressful, which ultimately makes me happy. I am happiest when I can be part of a solution.”

Kahn has been a photography tutor since 2013. Her goal is to become a professional photographer and a photography professor.

“Photography is an interesting subject,” Kahn says. “Photography takes you on a journey.”

Kahn’s journey started as a photography student in 2008. She says she was scared, excited, and unsure of what to expect. She says she was ready to run out the door when she found Photoshop was required in the class, until City College photography professor Paul Estabrook assured her, “Don’t worry, you are going to be fine. Trust me.”

That was Kahn’s moment.

“It was that moment that made the difference,” she says.

Kahn drives 180 miles round trip each day from home in Blue Canyon in the Sierra Nevada to get to City College. She decided from the beginning to not let the drive get in her way. She calculated the miles and found she travels roughly 12,000 miles a semester to just get to City College and back.
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“It (City College) had to be incredibly dynamic to get me up at 3 a.m. and drive down here before traffic would hit,” says Kahn. “Pure determination is what keeps me going.”

Being a tutor, Kahn learned how to deal with different people and learn to adjust to different learning styles.

“I have helped many students, both as a student and as a tutor,” Kahn says. “It’s very natural for me to help people whenever I can, and in any way I am capable.

Photography students are grateful for Kahn’s presence in the photography lab.

“She’s great,” says City College photography major Jerry McNabb. “She gave me words of advice to see things that I don’t see.”

City College tutors are required to take at least six units and have knowledge of the subject they will be tutoring.

“Tutors are an extended reach of my ability to get around to students and the answers questions that that happen a lot faster than compared to the film days,”  says Estabrook.  “Being able to have someone who has high energy like Penelope, who can go from to computer to computer, is a real big help. That’s my favorite thing about her.”  

And Kahn shines in the photography lab.

“Penelope is amazing at her job because she has great interaction with students and her understanding of photography,” says City College photography student Ryan Meza. “She’s been here for many years and has a good grip on the technical aspect of photography.”

Kahn credits the people on campus for bringing her back every semester.

“City College is the best community college because it provides a campus that welcomes all people from all cultures,” she says. “I enjoy the diversity of students that attend City College. I very much appreciate City College’s previous and current leaders who put forth an energetic and positive tone that creates a positive atmosphere on campus.”



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