A woman who was born with the name Marijuana Pepsi has defied the bullies and critics to become a doctor after earning her PhD.
Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck, 46, has spent her entire life embracing the name her mother gave her despite others pushing back against her.
She refused to change the unusual name in a bid to prove to herself and to others that overcoming obstacles is possible.
Now, the mother-of-one is officially Dr Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck after earning her PhD in higher education leadership from Cardinal Stritch University in Wisconsin last month.
Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck, 46, is officially a doctor after earning her PhD in higher education leadership from Cardinal Stritch University in Wisconsin last month
Vandyck told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that her mother Maggie Johnson picked out her name when she was born and declared it would take her around the world. She has two sisters whose named are Kimberly and Robin.
Despite people criticizing her mother for the name choice, Vandyck says she credits her for helping her become the strong woman she is today.
‘I’ve grown into my name because I am a strong woman. I’ve had to be,’ she has said previously.
Vandyck, studybay who left an unstable home when she was 15, graduated high school and went on to earn her college and master’s degree.
She vowed early on to earn her doctorate.
Marijuana has spent her entire life embracing the name her mother Maggie Johnson (right) gave her despite others pushing back against her
‘I’m going to be called Dr Marijuana Pepsi,’ she insisted at the time.
She said classmates made fun of her name growing up and teachers and bosses tried to urge her to get it legally changed but she refused.
‘People make such a big deal out of it, I couldn’t get away from it,’ she said.
She chose a similar topic for her dissertation topic – ‘Black names in white classrooms: Teacher behaviors and student perceptions’.
Vandyck said the students she interviewed for her thesis had similar experiences to her growing up in which educators would repeatedly quiz her on her name.
Vandyck – who works full-time at Beloit College, a liberal arts college in Wisconsin – says despite her name she has never smoked marijuana and doesn’t drink Pepsi.
Vandyck, above with her husband Fredrick Vandyck, refused to change her unusual name in a bid to prove to herself and to others that overcoming obstacles is possible