Woman named Marijuana Pepsi refused to change her name — now she’s a doctor
That’s Doctor Marijuana Pepsi to you.
A Wisconsin woman with the real given name Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck earned a doctorate last month, according to a report published Tuesday.
Throughout her life, Vandyck, 46, said she’s been teased by everyone from classmates to teachers and bosses — but she turned all that around when she handed in her dissertation, titled: “Black names in white classrooms: Teacher behaviors and student perceptions.”
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As part of her PhD in higher education leadership from Cardinal Stritch University, Vandyck interviewed students who had experiences similar to hers in the classroom, where teachers harped on their names, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.
“Regardless of what they do, say or what they’re trying to put in place, you still have to move forward and succeed,” Vandyck told the paper.
Some people Vandyck encountered flat-out refused to call her by her name or insisted on calling her “Mary” — which she rejected. When she worked as a real estate agent, she did use the initials “MP” so stoners wouldn’t steal her signs, she said.
“People make such a big deal out of it, I couldn’t get away from it,” she said.
Despite her name, Vandyck — who works full-time at Beloit College — said she’s never smoked grass and doesn’t drink soda.
Her mother, Maggie Johnson, picked out the unusual moniker — proclaiming it would take her daughter gallivanting around the world.
Vandyck left an unstable home when she was 15 and said she spent her life trying to prove herself, even as people wrinkled their brows when they heard her name.
She vowed to earn her PhD, insisting: “I’m going to be called Dr. Marijuana Pepsi.”
Even though she credits her mom with making her a strong, balanced, entrepreneurial woman, Vandyck advises against naming kids after weed. Her sisters have comparatively tame names, Kimberly and Robin.
“I’ve grown into my name because I am a strong woman. I’ve had to be,” she’s said.
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