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.
Doctor : ” so what you gon name her”
Parents : ” Marijuana Pepsi”.
Doctor : pic.twitter.com/WkF7rgWlsU
— GodsNaughtyAngel🇬🇭 (@kelly_lartey) June 20, 2019
* sees marijuana Pepsi trending *
* thinks Pepsi made a new drink *
Me 45 seconds later : pic.twitter.com/FJ84chnfGu
— john (@Dat_dudejw) June 20, 2019
As a woman named Shenequa, I support this. Big ups to Dr. Marijuana Pepsi. https://t.co/eBnqgCxTXH
— Ms. Golding (@GoldingGirl617) June 20, 2019
Marijuana Pepsi said classmates made fun of her name & teachers & bosses tried to urge her to get it changed but she refused: ‘I’ve grown into my name because I am a strong woman.’ Now she’s Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck! If this ain’t #BlackExcellence then what is? #BlackHistory pic.twitter.com/NpVw86NRr1
— Tyra Jackson (@IamTyraJackson) June 20, 2019
My high school basketball coach told us he once had a student named Marijuana Pepsi Jackson who became super successful & I thought he might be lying, then like 10yrs later a coworker told the same story. Homegirl been an urban legend in my life for like 15 years 😂😂 https://t.co/aWzGbXrsIF
— Chief ROCKa (@alysSAWRAH) June 20, 2019