It was a dream of freshman year Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck to one day get her doctorate and add the title to her name. Now, Dr. Marijuana Pepsi, Ph.D. is ready to take on her next challenge.
After completing her undergraduate degree and going on to earn her masters in higher education administration, Vandyck has just defended her dissertation and received her Ph.D. from Cardinal Stritch University, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Her biggest accomplishment? She preaches proving yourself despite obstacles – even if the obstacle is what many would consider to be an unfortunate name. But overcoming the jeers from colleagues is far from her only feat.
Vandyck is a mother of three and grandmother of one. She is currently working full-time at Beloit College as a director of a program that aids first-generation students who come from low-income households – many of whom also have physical or mental disabilities.
So what’s the next step for Vandyck? She hopes to write a book, expanding on her dissertation, “Black names in white classrooms: Teacher behaviors and student perceptions.” She’s also trying to start up the Marijuana Pepsi Scholarship, which will give $500 annually to an African American student at University of Wisconsin at Whitewater.
She’s embraced her name, using it as an attention-grabber for her students and urging people not to let menial things tear down their accomplishments.
Her siblings’ names? Kimberly and Robin.