Elise Bur



Elise joined Northern Michigan University in July 2020 as the inaugural director of the NMU Center for Rural Health. She has more than thirty years of combined experience working in higher education and the healthcare industry. Elise is extremely dedicated to identifying, understanding and addressing regional health care needs through collaborative efforts. The foundation of her professional success can be attributed to building relationships and partnering with agencies and businesses on initiatives that improve the health and well-being of individuals. Additionally, she is extremely passionate about giving regional residents a voice by sharing challenges and success with local, state, and federal legislators which continues to result in new and on-going support for regional, state and national health-related matters.

Elise Bur Headshot

Sarah O'Neill

Marketing Coordinator


Sarah calls Marquette her hometown and NMU her alma mater. After graduating in 2010 with a BS in English writing, Sarah spent time living in both Chicago and New Hampshire. During this period, she worked in marketing roles across numerous industries, specializing in digital content creation and social media management. In 2020 she returned to her Wildcat roots, currently residing as the Senior Marketing Coordinator for NMU University Marketing and Communications. As a member of the Northern Michigan University Center for Rural Health team, Sarah executes all marketing and promotion and assists with outreach efforts. Her lifelong dedication to the region and its people serves as fuel when looking towards the improvement of healthcare in the U.P.

Sarah O'Neill headshot

Carolyn Robertson

Senior Secretary


Carolyn moved from Grand Rapids, Mich. to the Marquette area in March 2021. She joined the Northern Michigan University Center for Rural Health team as the Senior Secretary. Carolyn has extensive experience in managing day-to-day office operations in a personable and professional manner. She is an actively engaged team member who is learning more about rural health issues. As a working mother of three adolescent and adult aged children, Carolyn contributes a parental perspective of preparing adolescents for adulthood. She is environmentally conscious and strives to ensure the future will be sustainable in a sociably responsible manner. Carolyn enjoys helping others and looks forward to contributing to the NMU Center for Rural Health’s efforts.

Carolyn Robertson Headshot

Tesse Sayen

Grant Development Coordinator


Tesse has resided in the Marquette community for over ten years. Her passion for the success of the local population has been supported through her efforts in fundraising and grant writing. Advocating for the needs of rural health across the U.P. is quickly growing into a dedication; the prospect of positively impacting systems of basic human health needs as well as the individual has really become an exciting opportunity to Tesse. She feels that the U.P. is such a physically beautiful place to call home and helping to improve our regional healthcare system makes for a stronger more resilient and beautiful community.

Tesse Sayen Headshot