Academic Success

Welcome to St. Thomas University School of Law! STU Law is committed to student success both in law school and beyond. Using an interactive and cooperative approach to learning, our unique academic success programs assist students in developing the requisite skills for success in both the study and the practice of law. Meet your Academic Success team:

Professor of Law
(305) 474-2418 ·

Tamara F. Lawson is a tenured Professor of Law at Saint Thomas University School of Law. She joined the Saint Thomas Law faculty in 2004. Currently, she teaches Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Evidence, and a seminar on Race and the Law. Professor Lawson was twice awarded Professor of the Year for Upperclass Students in the 2004-05 and the 2005-06 academic years. Professor Lawson also visited at Catholic University of America, Columbus Law School for the academic year 2007-08. Prior to joining the law faculty, Professor Lawson served as a Deputy District Attorney at the Clark County District Attorney's Office in Las Vegas, Nevada, from 1996-2002. As a criminal prosecutor, Professor Lawson was assigned to the Special Victims Unit for Domestic Violence, as well as other departments in the prosecutor's office. She successfully argued multiple cases before the Nevada Supreme Court, including death penalty appeals. In addition to general criminal cases, Professor Lawson, in her capacity as Deputy D.A., handled environmental crimes, involuntary mental commitments, and bail bond hearings.


Catholic Law School and Assistant Dean for Professionalism
Assistant Dean for Professionalism
Visiting Associate Professor of Law
(305) 474-2472 ·

Barbara Singer joined St. Thomas University School of Law in August 2001 as Assistant Dean for Academic Support. From 1994 to 2001, Dean Singer served as an adjunct professor at St. Thomas Law School. During that time period, she also provided bar preparation assistance for St. Thomas graduates studying for the Florida bar examination. Dean Singer also served as a visiting and associate professor at the law school from 1986 to 1992. In addition, she has been a member of the faculty at the University of Miami School of Law and Indiana University School of Law. Currently at St. Thomas University School of Law, Professor Singer teaches Torts, Contracts and Property and serves as the Assistant Dean for Professionalism.


Assistant Professor of Academic Success
(305) 474-2471 ·

Carol Castleberry joined St. Thomas University School of Law in October 2016 as an Assistant Professor of Academic Success, where she teaches academic success courses; schedules, monitors, and evaluates comprehensive programs and materials for law students; and works with individual law students. Prior to joining STU Law, Carol spent the majority of her legal career in the appellate judiciary, having served as Senior Staff Attorney to the Honorable Edward C. Larose at the Second District Court of Appeal, where she handled civil, criminal, and administrative appeals. She also has experience in private practice and working for the Hillsborough County Attorney's Office. She taught Social Justice as an adjunct at the University of South Florida from 2011 to 2013. Carol received her Juris Doctor from Stetson University College of Law, an M.A. in Social Justice from Loyola University Chicago, and an LL.M. in Intercultural Human Rights from St. Thomas University School of Law. She received her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University. She is a member of the Florida Bar.


Assistant Professor of Academic Success
(305) 623-2312 ·

Tia Gibbs joined the faculty at St. Thomas University School of Law in 2017 as an Assistant Professor of Academic Success. Prior to joining the faculty, Professor Gibbs represented lending institutions throughout the state of Florida in real estate transactions. As a Real Estate Attorney, Professor Gibbs was responsible as the Mediation Managing Attorney, to facilitate mediations throughout the state of Florida. Professor Gibbs is a registered Mediator in the state of Alabama where she had a mediation practice. She received her Bachelors in Business Administration degree majoring in Legal Studies from the University of Miami. She received her Juris Doctorate Degree from Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University College of Law. She received her Juris Master in Banking Compliance from Florida International University College of Law. She is a licensed member of the Florida Bar.


Visiting Associate Professor of Legal Writing Skills
(305) 623-2334 ·

The Reverend Professor Raúl Fernández-Calienes, Ph.D., has been active in education, ministry, and service with minority and indigenous peoples for most of his life. He has served on the staff and been a consultant with grassroots, church, and educational organizations in the U.S. and overseas. He has won many research and practicum awards, from such organizations as the Lilly Foundation, the Consortium on Rights Development, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. He is a sought-after researcher, writer, and award-winning editor, and he has done editorial and production work on many books published in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. At St. Thomas, he was on the staff of the St. Thomas University Human Rights Institute, the adjunct faculty member with the Graduate Writing Program, and the technical editor for the University's Self-Study Report 2003 (for ten-year accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) and the law school's Self Study Report 2005 (for the American Bar Association and the American Association of Law Schools). In 2006, he was an Assistant Editor of the Journal of the Legal Writing Institute. He also is co-editor of the 3-volume Women Moving Forward book series. Currently, he is the Managing Editor of the Journal of Multidisciplinary Research, a peer-reviewed academic publication, and he directs the Writing Enhancement and Skills (WES) Program.


Catholic Law School and Academic Support Program
Suzanne Gelin
Assistant Coordinator
(305) 623-2369 ·