May 19, 2017

Columbia State Students Modify Little Car for Child With Disabilities

(COLUMBIA, Tenn. - May 19, 2017) - - - Ten Columbia State Community College engineering students recently modified a toy Power Wheels Disney Minnie Mouse Jeep for 9-year-old Jamie Lynn Munson.

Munson suffers from several medical conditions, including: neck, spine and hip dysplasia, Stickler syndrome, brittle bone disease, a severe spinal condition and other illnesses that affect her mobility and sensory abilities.

"We are extremely happy with all of the hard work that the students put into this project for Jamie," said Vicki Lee, Munson's aunt. "Jamie had to have her jeep modified because she can't use her feet to push the pedal.

The students used basic wiring skills to modify the jeep so the acceleration switch was located on the steering wheel, making it easier for Munson to operate the vehicle. David Fawcett, Columbia State associate professor of physics and astronomy, offered students wiring advice.

When Munson saw the vehicle she was excited.

"Surprise!" Munson said. "I got a surprise!"

Lee explained that her niece drives a therapy car at the hospital. Her husband, Eric Lee, tried to modify the car for Munson, but he couldn't bypass two speeds.

"Part of being a good engineer is using your education and putting good things back into the world," said Bobbie Cowan, engineering adjunct faculty member. "That's why community projects are so important."

The total cost for the project was $11.

"Jamie loves her jeep," Lee said. "She never wants to get out of it."

This is the second little car project that Cowan has worked on while at Columbia State. The first time, she assisted Dr. Glenn Hudson, Columbia State professor of mathematics, leading a class of students to modify a little car for a disabled child at Maury Regional Medical Center.

jamie lynn
Photo Caption:
Jamie Lynn Munson drives her jeep for the first time.

little car group
Photo Caption
: (First row) Jamie Lynn Munson with guardians Vicki and Eric Lee. (Standing, left to right): Bobbie Cowan, engineering adjunct faculty member; and students John Sims, Patricia Bassett and Molly Watts. Not pictured: Lucas Beauchamp, Stephen Burton, Jakob Collier, Graham Estes, Vincent Grabbe, Ahmad Hammoud, Joshua Harrison, J.R. Lynn, T.J. Patel and Chase Payne.

Columbia State is a two-year college, serving a nine-county area in southern Middle Tennessee with locations in Columbia, Franklin, Lawrenceburg, Lewisburg and Clifton. As Tennessee's first community college, Columbia State is committed to increasing access and enhancing diversity at all five campuses. Columbia State is a member of the Tennessee Board of Regents, one of the largest higher education systems in the nation. For more information, please visit

Tennessee's Community Colleges is a system of 13 colleges offering a high-quality, affordable, convenient and personal education to prepare students to achieve their educational and career goals in two years or less. We offer associate degree and certificate programs, workforce development programs and transfer pathways to four-year degrees. For more information, please visit us online at