She attended Harlem Hospital School of Nursing, Adelphi University, and the C.W. Post Center, Long Island University. Burke retired as Superintendent (Warden) from the New York State Department of Corrections in October 1992. She served with the Army Reserve from 1962 to 1992. Burke joined the New York Army National Guard in 1993, retiring as Major General in 1997, culminating a military career of over 35 years of service. She is also President of the National Association of Black Military Women. She is also an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.
A former nurse, Burke is a member of the Reserve Officers Association, The Retired Officers Association, Association for the Military Surgeons of the United States, National Guard Association of the United States, Militia Association of New York, National Black Nurses Association, Black Nurses Association of the Capital District, Harlem Hospital School of Nursing Alumni, American Correctional Association of the United States of America, New York State Minorities in Criminal Justice, and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.