That's Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck to you!

After eight years, Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck has earned her PhD in higher education from Cardinal Stritch University. And yes, Marijuana Pepsi is her real given name. From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Her mother, Maggie (Brandy) Johnson, who still lives in Beloit, (Wisconsin) picked out her name and proclaimed that it would take her around the world. Her sisters, one older and one younger, got relatively common names, Kimberly and Robin.

Teachers, classmates, bosses and other people in Marijuana's life pushed back against her name and teased her. Some suggested she go to court and change it. Some flat out refused to call her that or insisted on Mary, which she rejected.

As much as people blamed and judged her mother for the name, Marijuana credits her mom with making her the strong, balanced, entrepreneurial woman she is today...

But mostly she embraces the name as proof that you can overcome any obstacle in life and achieve your dreams...

It's fitting that an African American woman who has gone through life as Marijuana Pepsi chose as her dissertation topic: "Black names in white classrooms: Teacher behaviors and student perceptions."

"Yes, her name really is Marijuana Pepsi, and now she's Dr. Marijuana Pepsi to you" by Jim Stingl (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel) Read the rest

Empowered health through technology: video contest with cash prize

The US Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is hosting a Healthy New Year Video Challenge with cash prizes of up to $2,000. They're soliciting short videos with the theme of a New Year’s resolution for improving your health or the health of a loved one, through technology.

"Videos must show how you will use information technology to achieve your resolution and how you plan to maintain it," according to the contest website. The sort of topics one might address (one per video) include obtaining your health records from your doctors and learning how to read and understand their contents, finding online support communities for a specific illness, or direct health improvement actions like using an electronic pedometer to track physical activity, or an iPhone app to count calories or monitor sleep cycles.

Submissions are accepted through February 16. You have to be a US citizen over 18 to participate. More rules here. (thanks, Lygeia Ricciardi!) Read the rest