JULIE BOBZIEN, Executive Director
Ms. Bobzien has been with VARN since 2013, and has been the Executive Director since 2015. She previously held the role of Finance & Grants Manager. She a member of Nevada’s Access to Justice Commission and Treasurer of the Board od Directors of the Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence (NCEDSV).
Before coming to VARN, she spent ten years working in the political and legislative arena for campaign organizations and elected officials. In particular, for four years, she held the position of District Director for the Nevada Senate Majority Leader and managed all aspects of the district office in southern Nevada.
Ms. Bobzien has a Master of Social Work degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. In her spare time she loves to read, travel, and spend time with her husband, daughter, and two stepsons. Email Julie Bobzien.
VICTORIA S. MENDOZA, Esq., Managing Attorney/Pro Bono Coordinator
Ms. Mendoza received her undergraduate degree from the University of San Francisco and her law degree from the University of Notre Dame. She has been licensed to practice law in the state of Nevada and the state of California. (Her California license is currently inactive.) She has served as a law clerk for the Second Judicial District Court and a staff attorney for the Nevada Supreme Court.
Prior to joining VARN, Ms. Mendoza practiced commercial litigation, bankruptcy, family and probate law with the Hale Lane law firm (now known as, Holland and Hart), the Silverman and Decaria law firm, and her own law firm, Victoria S. Mendoza, Esq. Ltd. Ms Mendoza has also served on many non-profit boards, such as, the Food Bank of Northern Nevada, Nevada Hispanic Services, Step 2, the Nevada Women’s Fund, and Pack Paws. She is a past president of Northern Nevada Women Lawyers Association, and a former board member of the Board of Governors for Nevada Trial Lawyers. She is also a member of Soroptimist International of Truckee Meadows.
She has been named a Women of Achievement by the Nevada Women’s Fund and been the recipient of several Pro Bono awards for her work with Washoe County Senior Law Project and Washoe County Law Library’s Lawyer in the Library. Besides her legal and community work, Ms. Mendoza has participated in the Team in Training Program with the Leukemia Society of America by running marathons, riding century bike rides, and completing triathlons while raising thousands of dollars for the Leukemia Society. For her efforts with the Leukemia Society, she has been named a Leukemia Society “Rock Star” and a winner of the Leukemia Society “Triple Crown”. Email Victoria Mendoza.
ROST C. OLSEN, Esq., Staff Attorney/Assistant Pro Bono Coordinator
Mr. Olsen joined VARN in November 2017 as a staff attorney and assistant pro bono coordinator. Mr. Olsen graduated from Gonzaga University School of Law in 2016, where he was a member of the inaugural class of Gonzaga Law’s accelerated program, completing law school in two calendar years. Prior to going to law school, Mr. Olsen earned a master of fine arts degree in creative writing with an emphasis in poetry from Eastern Washington University, and a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Nevada, Reno with a major in English and minor in American History.
A fifth-generation Northern Nevadan, Mr. Olsen is a proud graduate of Sparks High School where he earned 3 varsity letters in football, in addition to participating in wrestling, track, choir. In addition to his work at VARN, Mr. Olsen is involved in many community endeavors and organizations; he is a member of Inns of Court, the Nevada Bar Association, the Washoe County Bar Association, and the Sparks High School Booster Club, to name a few. In early 2018, Mr. Olsen was also appointed by the Nevada Bar Board of Governors to a temporary seat on the Judicial Selection Commission to assist in selecting candidates to fill a vacancy in Department 2 of the Second Judicial District Court. He also holds a Level I Official Certification from USA Boxing, and judges amateur and collegiate boxing matches.
When not at work or volunteering, Mr. Olsen enjoys playing piano, writing, following sports, and spending time with his family and his blue nosed pit bull, Seamus. Email Rost Olsen.
MICHELLE A. PAVELEK, JD, MBA, Staff Attorney
Michelle Pavelek, formerly known as Scheinman, received her bachelors of art in biology from Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Michelle also acquired a master of business administration, before entering the legal profession. In 2014, she graduated with great distinction in the top ten percent of her class from the McGeorge School of Law. During law school, Michelle joined the law review and her article, published in issue 3 of volume 44, was awarded the top prize in the 2013 Stauffer Charitable Trust Writing Competition.
After law school, Michelle clerked for the Honorable Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym at the United States District Court for the Central District of California. She returned to her home state of Nevada in 2016, where she drafted legislation for the 79th Session of the Nevada State Legislature as a Deputy Legislative Counsel. Michelle is an active member of the State Bar of Nevada and an inactive member, in good standing, of the State Bar of California. She strongly believes that justice can only be served when all litigants, regardless of their financial position, are represented by competent, zealous counsel. Email Michelle Pavelek.
TATIANA JENSEN, Esq., Immigration Attorney
Tatiana Jensen joined VARN in August 2017 as Immigration Attorney for the Domestic Violence Rural Immigrant Integration Project (DV RIIP). Tatiana attended law school at Golden Gate University where she graduated in the top 20% of her class in December 2015. She became licensed in Florida in 2016 and in California in 2017. She holds a graduate degree in public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, where she was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow from 1997 to 1998 during her MPA program. Prior to practicing law she worked in the utility industry, starting as a Junior Financial Analyst in a consulting firm in Berkeley, CA and working her way to Director of Regulatory Affairs for an investor owned utility in Los Angeles, CA.
Tatiana is interested in legal access programs and in the issue of statelessness, particularly as it affects children moving across international borders. Tatiana enjoys serving rural communities across Nevada, and is committed to ensuring victims of domestic and sexual violence have access to our justice system.
When she is not working Tatiana enjoys spending time with her family and their animals. Email Tatiana Jensen.
Suelen Perez, joined VARN on Nov. 1st 2017. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Dietetic Nutrition in 2010 from the University of Nevada, Reno and later decided to pursue a new career goal as a Paralegal. She returned to UNR to obtain her Paralegal certification in 2017.
Suelen is bilingual in English and Spanish, and she is a Legal Assistant at VARN. She previously collaborated with ESL in- home program of Northern Nevada as an ESL volunteer instructor, where she taught English as a second language to the Carson City and Douglas county community.
Suelen loves to travel back to her hometown in Guadalajara, Mexico to enjoy the nice weather and the delicious food, and In the United States she enjoys visiting friends and family in San Jose, CA where she grew up since the age of 2.
On the weekends it’s all about family and her three dogs: Ernie, Santiago, and Daisy. Email Suelen Perez.
REBECCA SMOKEY, Senior Legal Advocate/Caseworker
Rebecca Smokey is the Senior Legal advocate/caseworker who interviews clients for legal services, gathers documentation and provides summaries to attorneys for case consideration. Rebecca is knowledgeable in the dynamics of domestic violence providing direct service, case management, crisis intervention, lethality assessments, safety planning , and information and referrals to victims and families. Rebecca also provides outreach services to social service and domestic violence agencies, courts, victim witness specialists, and is a representative of the Partnership of Community Resources. Rebecca served on the Nevada Council for Prevention of Domestic Violence with the Attorney General, Domestic Violence Task Force Teams, Native American Women’s Coalition, Tribal Representative for the Washoe Tribe for 14 yrs, and served as the chair of the Burial Committee for the past 7 yrs. Rebecca is a Native Nevadan and grandmother of 4 who is active in their sporting events, community and tribal events and enjoys camping, swimming, walking, volleyball and being around family & friends. Email Becky Smokey.