Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck

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Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck (née Jackson) is an American education professional. She earned a Ph.D. from Cardinal Stritch University with a dissertation on uncommon black names in the classroom.[1][2]

Early life and name[edit]

Marijuana Pepsi Jackson grew up in Chicago, Illinois[3] and Beloit, Wisconsin.[3][4] She has two sisters, named Kimberly and Robin.[3] She first realized her name was unusual at nine years old.[5] She said her mother told her "your name will take you around the world", and that her mother insisted on correcting a school spelling bee award certificate that read "Mary Jackson".[5] She described being bullied in high school over her name, crediting her family with helping her learn to embrace the name.[5]


Vandyck was "most improved student" at her high school graduation.[3] She earned a bachelor's degree from University of Wisconsin–Whitewater[1] and a Master's degree from Georgia Southern University,[3] before earning her Ph.D. in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service in Higher Education from Cardinal Stritch University in May 2019. Her dissertation, titled "Black names in white classrooms: Teacher behaviors and student perceptions.",[1][2] was inspired by prejudice she saw while working as a teacher. A co-worker complained that her upcoming class would do poorly, based on the list of students with mostly black-sounding names.[5][6]


Vandyck directs a program for first-generation students, students with disabilities, and students from low-income families at Beloit College. She also owns a performance coaching business, and formerly worked as a teacher.[4][6]

Starting fall 2019, Vandyck sponsors a Marijuana Pepsi Scholarship for first-generation African-American students at UW–Whitewater.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Vandyck lives on a 3-acre (1.2 ha) farm in Pecatonica, Illinois with her husband Fredrick Vandyck.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Folley, Aris (2019-06-20). "A woman named Marijuana Pepsi earns doctoral degree with dissertation on uncommon names". Retrieved 2019-06-20.
  2. ^ a b Amatulli, Jenna (2019-06-20). "Woman Named Marijuana Pepsi Earns Ph.D With Dissertation On Uncommon Names". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2019-06-20.
  3. ^ a b c d e Stingl, Jim (2009-03-07). "A woman named Marijuana plays it straight - and wins". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Gannett Co., Inc. Retrieved 2019-06-20.
  4. ^ a b c d Stingl, Jim (2019-06-18). "Stingl: Yes, her name really is Marijuana Pepsi, and now she's Dr. Marijuana Pepsi to you". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Gannett Co., Inc. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  5. ^ a b c d Sini, Rozina (2019-06-21). "Dr Marijuana Pepsi: The woman who refused to let her bullies win". BBC News. Retrieved 2019-06-21.
  6. ^ a b Andrew, Scottie; Ries, Brian (2019-06-21). "She knows you think her name is different. But Dr. Marijuana Pepsi's work speaks for itself". CNN. Retrieved 2019-07-06.