Yes, that is her real name, and she is spectacular. Marijuana Pepsi was the name on every Twitter user’s lips after this woman with the peculiar moniker became a doctor, so here’s what you need to know about her.
William Shakespeare once asked, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Everything was coming up roses for Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck on June 18, as the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel published an article about how she earned her doctorate from Cardinal Stritch University in May. The post blew up on Twitter, as users had to double-check the name. “saw this trending, & was getting all happy; thinking this was a fab new drink! It’s a woman who chose this name and refused to change it! #BUZZKILL” one tweeted, echoing the disappointment of many.
However, more Twitter users saluted the woman for earning her degree. “when I saw that #MarijuanaPepsi was trending, I immediately assumed that @PepsiCo had announced a new #cannabis-infused product… silly me… raising a glass to Dr. Vandyck on this fine accomplishment…” @DanielPaisner tweeted. While the rest of Twitter comes down, here’s the scoop on Marijuana Pepsi.
1. That’s Dr. Marijuana Pepsi to you. “I’m going to be called Dr. Marijuana Pepsi!” she declared as an incoming freshman, and ten years later, that proclamation has come true. Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck earned her Ph.D. in higher education leadership. Her dissertation topic, perhaps due to her experiences as an African American with a unique name, was “Black names in white classrooms: Teacher behaviors and student perceptions.”
Dr. Vandyck interviewed several black students at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where she attained her bachelor’s degree, about the effect of their “distinctly black names on their treatment by teachers and their academic achievement,” according to the Journal-Sentinel.
2. Her mother picked out the name. “People make such a big deal out of it, I couldn’t get away from it,” Marijuana Pepsi told the Journal-Sentinel. Credit her name to her Mom, Maggie (Brandy) Johnson, who picked the name. Her parents were of the post-Woodstock era, when cannabis use was rampant. “And they would cool off with a Pepsi,” Marijuana’s aunt, Mayetta Jackson, told the Journal-Sentinel in 2009. “I thought it was crazy, but they were such fun-loving people that it suited them.” Marijuana’s sisters have relatively common names, Kimberly and Robin, but their names never trended on Twitter, did they?
* sees marijuana Pepsi trending *
* thinks Pepsi made a new drink *
Me 45 seconds later : pic.twitter.com/FJ84chnfGu
— John (@iam_johnw) June 20, 2019
— Jason Chambers (@FollowMMA) June 20, 2019
3. She has a son with a “normal” name. Marijuana married Fredrick Vandyck in 2017. They live on a 3-acre hobby farm in Pecatonica, Illinois. Her 16-year-old son is named Isaac, and Frederick’s three children are called T.J., Heaven, and Donovan. Heaven also has a child, named Egypt, making Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck a grandmother.
4. She’s highly successful. Dr. Vandyck works full time at Beloit College as director of a program that serves students who are first-generation enrollees, who come from low-income families or have learning or physical disabilities. She also owns Action as Empowerment, a performance coaching business that runs retreats for those who want to change their lives for the better. Oh, she’s also a real estate agent.
5. Marijuana Pepsi doesn’t like either. Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck doesn’t drink – alcohol or soda – save for the occasional fruity soft drink in an ice cream float (she said she preferred orange soda in 2009.) As for smoking cannabis, she has never tried it – not once!
“My main concerns are the individuals serving time for marijuana-related offenses,” she said when asked about her thoughts on legalization. “I would like to see all their sentences overturned. These people were locked up for making money from the sale of marijuana, and now that the government has figured out ways to make the money themselves, it is ‘legal’ and, further, encouraged.”