It isn’t every day that a professor has the opportunity to work with an Olympic Gold Medalist. But then, Rebecca Harris is not just any professor.

Harris, Collin College speech professor, was giving on-air relationship advice for a TXA 21 local news segment when she first met Carly Patterson in the green room. She never imagined that she would teach this world-renowned athlete the very next year.

While she was earning her Collin College associate degree, Patterson took Harris’ speech and interpersonal classes.

“She was the sweetest, most thoughtful, kind-hearted girl. She brought her gold medals to the office and let me hold them—I wondered what my eight-year-old self, who watched the Olympics, would think of me holding those gold medals,” Harris said.

In Harris’ class, Patterson learned how to work with teams, be assertive, improve relationships and harness the power of intuition to predict people’s behavior.

The timing was perfect for Patterson, who was making speeches around the country at the time. Today, this consummate athlete is still using speaking skills she honed at Collin College as a motivational speaker. But the story does not end there. This August, Harris and her husband are planning to attend the Olympics in Rio. Who knows who she will have in her next speech class.

Check out this link to read an article in the June issue of Allen Image magazine about Collin College Alumna Carly Patterson.

This summer, don’t miss Carly Patterson, and other alumni, featured in commercials at a movie theater near you.