Lori Sirs, DSW, LICSW

Assistant Professor, social work

Director of Field Education

D.S.W., University of Tennessee; M.S.W., Boise State University; B.A., Ibid

Old Main 333
5000 Abbey Way SE
Lacey, WA 98503


“There can be no happiness if the things we believe are different than the things we do.”  -  Freya Stark

This quote resonates with me because I believe that being a social worker is not something I do, but who I am. Social work is especially appealing to me because of the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others. Social work as a profession is unique in that there are many different ways one can apply their degree – from child welfare to assisting our veterans to providing clinical counseling to working with our growing aging population. We work with individuals, families, groups, communities, and on issues that affect our national and global communities.

While I am new to St. Martin’s, I am not new to the Pacific Northwest. I raised my children on Vashon Island, and though I enjoyed my many years in Boise, Idaho, it feels good to be “home.” I graduated from Boise State University with both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Social Work. More recently, I graduated from the University of Tennessee with my Doctor of Social Work (DSW) degree. Having been a first generation, nontraditional college student, I also have an understanding of the unique strengths and challenges that come with that academic path.

Because I am passionate about the role internship plays in social work education, I served as a field instructor for Boise State University for a number of years. My extensive clinical experience includes working with at-risk youth, in a chronic pain clinic, creating a counseling department in a private, non-profit agency, and more recently, working in private practice with children, teens, and adults. I consider it a privilege to help teach, mentor, and prepare the next generation of world-changers, also known as social workers!

Select presentations:
Examining the Effect of Poi Spinning on Self-regulation: Preliminary Results (February 2017). Poster Session at the Learning Disabilities Association of America, 54th Annual International Conference, Baltimore, MD.
Assessing and Treating Social Competencies: Norms to Nuances. (January 2017).  Oral presentation, Pierce County Counselor’s Association, Tacoma, WA.
Meeting the Socioemotional Needs of Students (December 2016). In-service, Greater Lakes Mental Health Services, School Intervention Team. Lakewood, WA.
The Kinesthetic Classroom: Teaching and Learning Through Movement (October 2016). Oral Presentation at the NorthWest Association of Independent Schools Fall Educator’s Conference, Tacoma, WA.
Executive Functions 101: What Parents Need to Know (September 2016). Oral Presentation, Pierce County Chapter of C.H.A.D.D., Tacoma, WA.
Using Mindful Movement to Boost Learning, Memory, & Self-Regulation (February 2016). Oral presentation at the Learning Disabilities Association of America 53rd International Conference, Orlando, FL.
Weaving Movement into Social Thinking®: Fostering Self-regulation Through Purposeful Movement. (June 2014). Oral presentation at the 7th Annual National Social Thinking® Providers Conference, San Francisco, CA.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Academic Intervention for Students with Learning Disabilities. (October 2013). Oral paper presentation at the Annual Conference of the Institute of Special Education and Rehabilitation, Ohrid, Macedonia.

It was a special joy to have my grandchildren present when I received my doctorate in Knoxville, Tennessee, in May 2017.

Areas of interest:
Reading, poi spinning, travel, and along with my husband, spending time introducing my grandchildren to the joys of exploring the Pacific Northwest.