About our Founders
Our non-profit organization, International Education Research Foundation, was founded by Inez Sepmeyer and Ted Sharp, two admissions officers who recognized the need for assistance in the placement of international students and professionals. Inez and Ted first met in 1967, at the second JCOW (Joint Committee on Workshops) workshop in international education in Hawaii. Their friendship developed and in 1969 they founded IERF, which became the first private credentials evaluation agency, not only in the US, but also in the world.
Inez Sepmeyer (1911 – 2009)
Inez Sepmeyer was a leader and giant in the field of international education, having contributed both to the development of international admissions and to foreign credentials evaluation as a profession. Inez initially started out as a high school teacher and counselor; she transitioned to UCLA where she worked for 24 years as an admissions officer.
She was happy to share her knowledge, and did so as a foreign credentials evaluation consultant to the US Agency for International Development (AID), as well as through publications and workshops. She first wrote the World Education Series volume on Argentina, one of the first in the series. Inez then collaborated with Martena Sasnett to co-author the pioneering volume The Educational Systems of Africa, which was supported by a Ford Foundation grant. Furthermore, she was the co-editor of the seminal book The Country Index, also with Martena Sasnett.
Inez was awarded a lifetime membership by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) and an honorary membership by NAFSA – the Association of International Educators in recognition of her contributions to the field of foreign credentials evaluation.
Inez passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 98. She continues to be honored and remembered for her vision and dedication to the field. A research grant, founded in her and her husband’s name, supports research which furthers understanding in international education and credentials evaluation.
Theodore E. Sharp (1919 – 1997)
Ted Sharp graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard University, with a major in chemical engineering. He then joined the US Navy and was stationed in the US Virgin Islands. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the Navy transferred him to Hawaii.
After Ted retired from the US Navy, he joined the admissions office at San Fernando Valley State College, which later became California State University, Northridge. Ted was placed in charge of foreign student admissions and subsequently became passionate about international education.
Ted noted the limited number of resources available for international admissions officers and recognized the need for a publication that provided information on grading scales and placement recommendations. Influenced by his studies in chemical engineering, he felt the use of charts with blocks would help to depict clearly the structure of educational systems around the world. This led to the production of the Country Index, which was a ground-breaking publication at the time. Ted also authored The Glossary of Foreign Educational Terms.
Ted passed away at the age of 78; his ashes were scattered in the Virgin Islands, where he was a long-time resident. A memorial scholarship fund, known as the Theodore E. Sharp Scholar Awards, was established by his family and friends. These awards provide scholarships to high school graduates and college students in the Virgin Islands who have made outstanding contributions in community service.
 Martena Sasnett was an admissions officer at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and University of Southern California (USC).