Leonard is an experienced marine biologist who manages Schmidt Ocean Institute’s project selection process, scientific community coordination and liaising, and special projects. His previous work concentrated on supporting federal granting and environmental conservation. He worked with the National Science Foundation’s Division of Geoscience and coordinated grant competitions and managed budgets for the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, as well as supporting Earthcube, the Ocean Acidification program and numerous other initiatives. He managed activities for NOAA’s Aquatic Invasive Species program including annual grant competitions and external outreach, and he wrote a Report to Congress on ballast water technology. He worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA in a joint Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship where he supported the U.S. Coral Reef Task Force in its efforts to preserve and protect coral reef habitats.
He received his bachelor of science degree in Marine and Environmental Science from Hampton University, and his master of science in Fisheries Biology from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.