Rochelle is determined to become the first African American woman to reach Chess Master status in the United States—a title only 50 other women have earned, none of whom are women of color. Rochelle tells journalist Soledad O’Brien about mastering the sport dominated by men and the one major #GirlsCan message she has for her opponents: “I’m here to show them that I can.”
Her inspiration is: “My grandmother. When I first started playing, she introduced to me the idea of being the first African-American female chess master. I didn’t think about it much because for me it seemed like an impossible feat, and I didn’t think it could happen. I wasn’t as focused and dedicated as I am now. I didn’t think I was a good chess player—people told me I was, but it wasn’t my mentality at that moment. But then after she died, that really affected me, because she was the one person that always had confidence in me. She never pushed me, and she always respected me for who I was. I have to reach that goal for her.”
Rochelle is a student at Stanford University on full scholarship.
Visit Rochelle at: https://www.facebook.com/rochelle.ballantyne.1