Sarah Hemminger, Ph.D. - Chief Executive Officer and Founder
Sarah Hemminger co-founded the Incentive Mentoring Program with her husband Ryan Hemminger in 2004. She has nine years of experience in nonprofit management and expertise in the development, expansion, and replication of innovative, paradigm-shifting models of mentoring. Sarah has a deep understanding of the challenges that face students in successfully completing high school and accessing higher education, as well as the potential for students and volunteers to change not only their own lives but also create a positive and lasting impact on those around them. Sarah was awarded fellowships from Ashoka, Echoing Green Foundation, Open Society Institute, and Albert Schweitzer Fellows Program, which support social entrepreneurs with innovative ideas. In 2010, Sarah received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the Johns Hopkins University for her work on the role of the cerebellum and the primary motor cortex on the time scales of consolidation of motor memory. She received the prestigious Siebel Scholars Award for outstanding work in the field of technology and engineering. Her research was published in the Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Neurophysiology, and Cerebral Cortex and she has lectured internationally on her work. She received her undergraduate degree from the Johns Hopkins University in 2002 and prior to pursuing her PhD, she worked as an engineer for Medtronic XOMED. Sarah enjoys ice skating and teaching aerobics.
Tong Zhang, Ph.D. - Chief Operating Officer
Tong Zhang’s role in IMP has evolved over the years from Family member in House Porodica to the founding Director of the Technology Service to member of the Board of Directors. In 2011, Tong joined IMP as staff. As the Chief Innovations Officer, Tong recruited, trained and supported Directors to provide programs, services, and infrastructure development for the organization. As the leader of this “IMP think tank”, Tong developed innovative resources that have not only benefited IMP, but have also created a positive ripple effect in the Baltimore community. In her role as the Chief Operating Officer, Tong is working to codify the IMP model to enable further scaling and replication of the program at future sites. In recognition of her work, Tong received the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award, Johns Hopkins University Diversity Recognition Awards and was invited to speak at Ignite for a Better Baltimore. She received her Ph.D. in Immunology from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine for her work in creating novel vaccines against gynecologic cancers with recent research being published in the scientific journal Vaccine. She is also a contributing writer to the Association of Women in Science Magazine. Tong’s teaching experience extends to English immersion classes for adults and biology for high school students. She received her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from the University of Washington. Tong enjoys swimming, hiking, and rock-climbing.
Garima Bhatt - Site Director of ACCE-JHU Homewood IMP Site
Garima Bhatt was motivated to begin her work in urban education during her undergraduate career in Washington, D.C. With a background in Human Services, Garima co-founded D.C. Today...D.C. Tomorrow, an after-school service learning club for high school students in Southeast D.C. She was responsible for writing and teaching a service learning curriculum; working with partner organizations to set up and chaperone service trips for the students; and facilitating all volunteer trainings. She continued her work in urban education by serving as an elementary school teacher in Baltimore City through Teach for America. Throughout her teaching career she also served as a Baltimore City Mayoral Fellow through which she worked to bring carsharing to low vehicle ownership areas in Baltimore City. She also worked for the Central Office of Baltimore City Public Schools where she assisted in the implementation of effective feedback cycles between administration and teachers. Garima holds an MA in Teaching from Johns Hopkins University. As an undergraduate at the George Washington University, she earned a BA in Psychology with a double minor in Human Services and Business Administration.
Shameeka Smalling - Site Director of Dunbar-JHU East Baltimore IMP Site
Shameeka Smalling's passion to work with IMP students and volunteers comes from her strong background in teaching, coaching, and facilitation. For the past ten years, she has worked closely with the Baltimore City School Public School District in different capacities, first as a Spanish and Political Science teacher at Heritage High School and then as a Regional Manager for an educational tutoring company. In addition to teaching academics, her goal has always been to help equip young people with the skills and support outside of the classroom to become functional, thriving adults. At Heritage, she was the coach for the Baltimore Urban Debate League and served as a certified Positive Behavior Facilitator. She has also helped to implement economic literacy and adolescent pregnancy prevention programs as a Program Coordinator for Girls, Inc, a non-profit focused on the empowerment of young girls. Most recently, she returned to work more closely with students as both a long term substitute middle school spanish teacher at Baltimore Freedom Academy and as a adjunct instructor at Baltimore City Community College. Originally from New York, Shameeka received her Bachelors of Arts in International Relations and Spanish from the Johns Hopkins University. She also holds a Master of Science in Education from the Johns Hopkins University. Shameeka enjoys sharing her poetry and her love of her Jamaican heritage.
Kathleen Lee, M.D. - Program Director
During the past five years, Kathleen Lee's contributions as a volunteer have been critical in IMP's evolution from a student group to a thriving non-profit. As a Family member in House Aile, GrandParent of House Rodzina, co-founding Director of the Academic Affairs and SAT Preparation Programs, founding Director of the Health Service, and creator of two annual reports she has exemplified IMP’s core values. After completing her medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Kathleen has pursued a career in social innovation with a focus in education. Kathleen has received the Princeton University Joseph Clifton Elgin Prize, the Albert Schweitzer fellowship and the Johns Hopkins SOURCE Award for her service to the community. Her work in purification of Escherichia coli RNA polymerase and patient safety has also been published in the American Journal of Transplantation and Protein Science. Kathleen holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering with minors in Material Science Engineering and Engineering Biology from Princeton University. Prior to joining IMP, Kathleen served as the Coordinator of the Princeton University - GetSET Program, an after-school program for elementary school students in Trenton, NJ. She enjoys badminton, camping, and playing the electric base.