A Woman Named“Marijuana” Pepsi Earns PHD Based Off Dissertation Of Unusual Names!

How many of us within our academic careers or life in general had to correct people for their exaggerated notion of how they either spelt or pronounced our names? Or parents had to hold back from naming their child something their hearts desired out of fear that their child wouldn’t be able to obtain employment based off their name? Let’s be real here, many if not all of us suffer from the “ Oh his/ her name is too black or too hard to pronounce phase,” and its actually unfair that we’re forced to have names that either don’t fit us or belong to some societal designed normality. Especially when names like Apple or Buttikissened Gyroswky is deemed proper. However a recent graduate hears our cries because they once were her own and decided to take a stance against it!

According to #Blavity a woman born with the legal name of #MarijuanaPepsi learned early on that the name struggle is real. She is now a married woman and has added the last name “Vandyck “ to her own. Sources have indicated that Mrs. Vandyck graduated from the University of Wisconsin's Cardinal Stritch this past May with her Ph.D. in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service in Higher Education. Vandyck states it was detrimental for her to be something in life despite the barriers placed on her by the weight of her name, “People make such a big deal out of it, I couldn't get away from it." 

Vandyck states that she often found herself questioning why her mother gave her such a different name from her sisters who were born Kimberly and Robin. She goes on to say that her mom believed that her name would take her places. Vandyck recalls growing up and feeling embarrassed or unpleasantly anxious when roll call took place in grade school.


"Every single class, the teacher is taking attendance out loud, and as they slowly get down through the J's, I'm just like here it comes. 'Marianna? Marijuana?' And all the students turn to see who it is.”

Vandyke used these instances from her life for the greater good and formatted her final thesis based on the topic of : "Black names in white classrooms: Teacher behaviors and student perceptions." 

She spoke with numerous students who faced the same struggle as her growing up and each student recalled the embarrassment they felt during roll call as well.

Dr. Marijuana Pepsi currently lives on a farm in Wisconsin with her husband and their four children, runs a performance coaching company and has established an annual scholarship specifically for African American students at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

"I’ve grown into my name because I am a strong woman," she tells local news. "I’ve had to be."