Jacob Marfo (PhD, PAg)
Manager/Research Coordinator
Jacob MarfoMy name is Jacob Marfo. I am the MARA’s Manager & Research Coordinator. I got my undergraduate degree in Agriculture Technology (Renewable Natural Resources major) from the University for Development Studies, Ghana. I briefly studied Adaptive Natural Resource Management at the International Agriculture Centre-Wageningen University in the Netherlands. I immigrated to Canada to pursue a Master of Science degree at the Lakehead University (Thunder Bay, Ontario). I worked on the effects of climate change on the boreal forest for my Master’s dissertation. I worked with the University as a Research Assistant-Silviculture and Plant Physiology lab, Faculty of Forestry & Forest Environments. Under the supervision of Professor Qinglai Dang, I obtained my doctoral degree in Forest Sciences, working on the interaction between soil nutrients, soil temperature and moisture on physiology, biomass and growth of boreal species.
I have been with MARA since August 2013. In addition to my managerial responsibilities, I lead MARA’s crop and environmental research programs. I enjoy photography, gardening, and website designing. I am a Professional Agrologist with the Alberta Institute of Agrologists and a Volunteer Fire Fighter with the Fort Vermilion Fire & Rescue. Working in Fort Vermilion is priceless as I am able to watch and photograph the beautiful northern lights, sunrise and sunset on regular basis as well as the variant Fall colours.
 Direct Contact
Jacob Marfo
Email: //
Cell Phone: 780-285-0988

Krishanthi Vithanage (MSc, PAg)

Assistant Research Coordinator

KrishanthiI’m Krishanthi Vithanage and joined MARA as Assistant Research Coordinator in April 2018.  I obtained my BSc. in Agriculture-major in crop science and MSc. in Crop Science with the focus on Horticultural crop production degrees from University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. I served as a temporary academic staff member for 2 years at Faculty of Agriculture, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka. I moved to Canada in 2011 with a scholarship to start my MSc. degree at Faculty of Agriculture, Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia. My research work was focused on Crop physiology, Stress-Physiology, Eco- Physiology, Agronomy and seedling emergence modelling of processing carrot production. After graduation I started to work as a Research Assistant at the Nova Scotia Crop Development Institute, Department of Plant Science, Dalhousie University and worked with the cereals, oil seeds and legume research group. I moved to Prince Edward Island (PEI) in 2016 to work with Cavendish Farms Research Department as the Research Associate. Experiments conducted to understand the best Management practices, new potato varieties, nutrient management and pest and disease management for potato production under PEI conditions. I enjoy traveling and doing Zumba/yoga during my free times.
Direct Contact
Krishanthi Vithanage
Email: //
Cell Phone: 780-285-0911


Frank Fehr

Senior Research Technician
was born and raised on a farm in Northern British Columbia. I moved to Fort Vermilion, Alberta in 2013. I have been farming most of my life and enjoy it. I enjoy the outdoors and working in the fields. I really love experimenting with new and different ideas aimed at improving farming. In addition to my work as work as MARA’s Senior Research Technician, I am an active Volunteer Firefighter. At MARA, I am responsible for equipment repair and maintenance and I am the go to guy on almost everything that requires mechanical assessment.





Nicole Driedger

Summer Research Technician
Hi, my name is Nicole Driedger. I applied for the summer position at MARA to gain more experience regarding crops and agriculture technology. I enjoy the farm life and missed it while studying Music at Red Deer College. I am taking EMR courss this Fall and continue with EMT program. I enjoy spending time with friends and family, songwriting, traveling and snowboarding.


Sylvia Boese
Summer Research Technician
My name is Sylvia Boese. I was born and raised in the country on a farm with my parents and four siblings. I have a love for farming and pretty much anything outdoors. I spent the past year in a Bible school in Cooks Island and I am accepted into the Natural Resource program at Portage College. I start college this September. This is my second year working at MARA. My position at MARA is partially funded by the Alberta Government through STEP.





Kaitlin Malterer
Canada Summer Research Technician/Events Coordinator

Email: //
Cell Phone: 780-927-3776

Hi, my name is Kaitlin, I am new to living in Fort Vermilion, however I have been coming up to visit for several years now. I am originally born and raised on a beef farm west of Ponoka, where my family and I raise and show purebred Speckle Park cattle. Along with the cattle I have a strong interest in horses. In total I have 5 horses and do a variety of disciplines with them ranging from working cattle on the farm, and rodeo to jumping and showing at breed shows. An interesting fact about me is that I was a 4-H member for 11 years having both beef and horse projects. I am currently a post-secondary student at Olds College where I have obtained my Equine Science Diploma in Western Horsemanship and am finishing my 4th year credits with MARA to achieve my Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Agribusiness. My position at MARA is supported by the Canada Summer Jobs Program. As someone who has grown up with little knowledge of crops I am very excited to learn and experience a new sector in the agriculture industry. I am excited to get to meet many new people through our extension programs and am looking forward to life here in the north.