Art Ludwig & Maya Shoemaker: Dedicated to the Future


The Scholarship Foundation has supported several generations of Santa Barbara County families over the years. Arthur Ludwig and his daughter, Maya Shoemaker, are one such example.

During the late 1980s, Art attended University of California, Berkeley with our support, studying integrated, ecological systems design. Over the last 35 years, Arthur has shared his expertise with Santa Barbara through Oasis Design, a natural fit for our water-deprived county.

Maya went a bit farther from home, to Evergreen State College in Washington, and majored in Environmental Studies. Currently, Maya works at the Wilderness Youth Project, a local organization dedicated to teaching the next generation to be good stewards of our planet.

As a small business owner, Arthur is worried about being able to pay young employees enough to both eat and repay their loans.

Arthur talked about graduates turning away from their ideal career and taking a higher-paid position as the only way to pay back their student loans.

“There’s only one thing a person can do with student debt,” explained Arthur. “Just toil away until it’s paid off.”

Maya considers herself fortunate that her Orfalea Scholarship allowed her to focus on her degree and graduate without debt. “If I had accrued debt, there’s no way I would have been able to do the things I’ve done,” she admitted. Maya extended her education by volunteering across Europe and Asia for a year.

After her travels, Maya’s lack of student debt made her job at the Wilderness Youth project possible—a job that she says doesn’t provide a huge paycheck but “nourishes me.”

Both father and daughter are committed to keeping their community—and the planet—sustainable. And they attribute their ability to do so to their education, and the Scholarship Foundation’s support. “I feel lucky I can make this choice,” Maya observed. “I’m very grateful.”