Ways To Give: What Other Alums Are Saying
Martin Stolle ’99
Martin Stolle ’99 with wife, Sarah, and sons, Oskar (L) and Hugo
As a teenager, I was very interested in doing a year abroad to improve my English and immerse myself in a different culture. However, we were unsure of how to find a good school. Fortunately, my dad’s cousin had chaperoned a group of German students for a short study trip to St. Johnsbury, and he was enthusiastic about SJA. He brought back a brochure which advertised that students had built an electric car (this was in the mid-90s!) and that one could learn to fly. I was sold! Unfortunately, when I arrived there was no longer a class on learning to fly. However, I was amazed at the choice of subjects, difficulty level (Accelerated, AP), and all the interesting clubs for afternoon activities.
I will never forget how rewarding and engaging I found learning at the Academy. Thanks to the support of the teachers and the welcoming students—I even enjoyed taking history! I liked the school so much that I persuaded my parents to let me stay for a second year and graduate with an SJA diploma (most German students only attend for one year).
This leads me to an example of the outstanding support I received. To be eligible to study at a German university, I had to take the French AP exam. Since SJA did not offer AP French at the time, my teacher, Mr. Callanan (salut!), agreed to teach three students according to the AP curriculum in the evening (in addition to French V Accelerated).
Knowing it would take time to get the diploma accredited in Germany for university studies, my parents and I decided to begin my university studies in North America. I received my undergraduate degree from McGill University in Canada and followed that with a master’s degree and Ph. D from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Little did my family know that a one-year exchange would turn into 11 years in North America!
Toward the end of my graduate studies, I was fortunate enough to be recruited by Google, where I had the opportunity to work in Zurich, Switzerland, Google’s largest engineering site in Europe. The timing was perfect as I felt it was time to get back to Europe. I still live in Switzerland with my wife, Sarah (who I met in Pittsburgh during graduate studies) and our two children, Oskar (6 years old) and Hugo (9 years old).
I give to St. Johnsbury because I remember fondly the amazing time I had and the lasting influence it had on me. I want to make sure that future generations can benefit from an experience as amazing as mine.
Google is a matching gift company, which means they match charitable contributions made by their employees. Each year Martin has his annual gift matched by his employer which in turn doubles the impact he has on SJA. To see if your employer is a matching gift company, please use our search tool on our Matching Gift page.