Her Real Name is Marijuana and She Just Earned a Ph.d with a Dissertation on Black Names

   Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck is now a Ph.d and no, she doesn’t smoke the good stuff.

   She earned her Ph.D. last month after years of trying to prove herself despite her name.
   “People make such a big deal out of it, I couldn’t get away from it,” Vandyck said.

   Her dissertation titled, “Black names in white classrooms: Teacher behaviors and student perceptions,” was inspired by her personal experience as a black student with such an uncommon name.

   Marijuana also interviewed students during her undergrad “about the effect of their distinctly black names on their treatment by teachers and on their academic achievement.” Many told her how teachers would interrupt attendance to ask them about their unique names.

   Marijuana also once challenged a professor who did that to her at Whitewater, saying,” Why are you asking me? My name is Marijuana, thank you.

   Still, Marijuana said she has no desire to change her name and rejects nicknames like Mary. The holder of a new doctorate degree credits her mom, who gave her the name in the first place, with making her the woman she is now.

   “I’ve grown into my name because I am a strong woman. I’ve had to be,” Vandyck told the “Today” show.

   The story of Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck’s name and degree has been going viral on social media.

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