The History of IMP


In the spring of 2004, Sarah Hemminger, a JHU biomedical engineering graduate student, and her husband, Ryan Hemminger, founded IMP to create mentoring relationships between university-based volunteers and underperforming high school students who were at risk of failing to graduate. Starting in the East Baltimore neighborhood in which Sarah attended graduate school, the program began by building relationships between Paul Laurence Dunbar High School (Dunbar) students, and volunteers from the JHU East Baltimore Campus. The principal of Dunbar, Roger Shaw, helped identify 15 students who were at severe risk of failing to complete high school.

Through their willingness to customize their approach to the unique needs of each student, volunteers developed close relationships with the students over the next three years. In the spring of 2007, 100% of this first group of students not only graduated high school, but were also accepted and matriculated to college. As word of IMP’s success spread, what started out as an intimate student group of a few dozen friends, quickly turned into an organization of several hundred volunteers.

In 2006, IMP became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and enrolled a second, third, fourth and fifth cohort of Dunbar students in 2007, 2010, 2011, and 2013 respectively. In the fall of 2010, IMP was afforded the amazing opportunity to expand to a second site. Building on the success of IMP’s flagship site at Dunbar HS and the JHU East Baltimore Campus, IMP opened its second site by building a similar partnership between the JHU Homewood Campus and the Hampden-based public high school, Academy for College and Career Exploration (ACCE). IMP recruited volunteers from the Homewood Campus, and enrolled the first, second and third cohorts of high school students at ACCE in 2011, 2012 and 2013, expanding our collaboration with both JHU and the BCPSS. To date, 100% of IMP students have received a high school diploma or equivalent degree and 97% of all IMP students have matriculated to college.