Jirek has presented her research at a variety of professional conferences, including the American Sociological Association, the Council on Social Work Education, the Society for the Study of Social Problems, the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology, and the International Family Violence and Child Victimization Research Conference.
She is currently writing and revising various articles arising from two research projects. The first is a qualitative study of vicarious traumatization among domestic violence advocates, as well as an exploration of the organizational risk and protective factors that affect the well-being of helping professionals. The second project is a mixed-methods study examining trauma recovery and posttraumatic growth among individuals who have experienced one or more traumatic life events. This research focuses upon the effects of cumulative disadvantage on the process of trauma recovery, group-based differences in the experience of posttraumatic growth, the process through which some trauma survivors develop posttraumatic growth, and the ways in which helping professionals can more effectively facilitate individuals’ positive life change.
Jirek also engages in various sociological practice activities. In the past, she has worked as a legal advocate for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, as a support group leader for incarcerated women, as a residential counselor and case manager for at-risk youth and their families, as a case manager with first-time juvenile offenders, as a counselor intern for inmates and as a volunteer mentor for parolees.