Les W. Burke, JD

Founder @ Jr. Scientists in the Sea

Les has been diving since 1980. Les was the eighth African American to complete the Navy’s school for Deep Sea Diving and Salvage in Little Creek, VA. Famed US Navy Master Diver, Carl Brashear, mentored Les in the early years. As one of the Navy’s elite Salvage divers, Les spent 33 years in the Navy. As a Navy Diver, he took part in several high-profile salvage operations. Les founded Jr Scientists in the Sea – while living in Tallahassee – to provide exposure to any student who wanted to learn about our aquatic world. Since he was already a professional diver and instructor, it was easy to begin teaching young students to SCUBA dive. His courses became more science based, while teaching at the University of Maryland. He regularly commuted, between the D.C. area and Florida. He brought youth from up north to meet, learn and dive with youth from Florida. After five years in the cold, Les moved back to Florida. His focus is the Florida Reef Track and the National Marine Sanctuary. Les is on the Board of Directors for the Caribbean Center for Boys & Girls of the Virgin Islands, and the Advisory Board of Directors for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Les holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Operations Management and a Juris Doctorate, both from Florida State University. He has completed all coursework for his Masters in Public Administration. He is a Department of State ICASS Executive; a certified mediator; a State Certified Law Enforcement Officer, in Florida; a certified curriculum developer, and of course a certified Master SCUBA Instructor.