Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Awarded Ph.D.on Thesis About Black Names

Jun 2014
65,327
40,286
Cleveland, Ohio
Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck (yup, that's her real name) graduated from Wisconsin's Cardinal Stritch University in May with a Ph.D. in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service in Higher Education. She wanted to prove to the world that, despite having a rather unique name, she could make it in life.

"People make such a big deal out of it, I couldn't get away from it," Vandyck told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Marijuana Pepsi is her legal name — and no, she doesn't smoke and she's not a huge fan of soda.

*Skip*

But it wasn't always easy. Vandyck was constantly teased growing up, especially in junior high. She dreaded when teachers conducted roll call.

"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," she said.

Vandyck used these situations to her advantage and wrote her thesis on the topic: "Black names in white classrooms: Teacher behaviors and student perceptions."

For her dissertation, she spoke with other Black students who had unique names. They also opened up about those tense moments when teachers would pause on their names during roll call.

Today, she is proud to call herself Dr. Marijuana Pepsi. In a way, she thanks her mother, and she admits her name may have given her a sense of resilience.

"I’ve grown into my name because I am a strong woman," she told TODAY. "I’ve had to be."
 
Jan 2015
58,172
18,095
Great State of Texas
Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck (yup, that's her real name) graduated from Wisconsin's Cardinal Stritch University in May with a Ph.D. in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service in Higher Education. She wanted to prove to the world that, despite having a rather unique name, she could make it in life.

"People make such a big deal out of it, I couldn't get away from it," Vandyck told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Marijuana Pepsi is her legal name — and no, she doesn't smoke and she's not a huge fan of soda.

*Skip*

But it wasn't always easy. Vandyck was constantly teased growing up, especially in junior high. She dreaded when teachers conducted roll call.

"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," she said.

Vandyck used these situations to her advantage and wrote her thesis on the topic: "Black names in white classrooms: Teacher behaviors and student perceptions."

For her dissertation, she spoke with other Black students who had unique names. They also opened up about those tense moments when teachers would pause on their names during roll call.

Today, she is proud to call herself Dr. Marijuana Pepsi. In a way, she thanks her mother, and she admits her name may have given her a sense of resilience.

"I’ve grown into my name because I am a strong woman," she told TODAY. "I’ve had to be."
What are we suppose to be discussing here?
 

StanStill

Former Staff
Dec 2013
14,481
16,906
Work
What are we suppose to be discussing here?
The effect that a name can have on how people perceive a person and how that perception can affect that person throughout his or her life. In Dr. Pepsi, it clearly made her work hard to overcome it, and fueled her desire to study how names affect someone, but that seems pretty clearly to be the exception not the rule.
 
Aug 2018
4,546
7,695
Vancouver
I can understand and appreciate a person saying they had a unique challenge growing up with the name Marijuana Pepsi. And I can understand and appreciate a thesis on "black names in white classrooms".

But I am not going to pretend that " marijuana pepsi" was looked down on becsuse it is a "black name"