Tereza Lee was brought to America at the age of two by her South Korean parents. They had first emigrated to Brazil, where she was born, fleeing economic hardships they faced in the aftermath of the Korean War. Tereza first learned that she was undocumented when she was 12.
Tereza started playing the piano when she was seven. At age 16, she was awarded a scholarship at the Merit School of Music to study privately and in their Tuition-Free Conservatory. As first prize winner of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Youth Concerto Competition, she appeared as a soloist with the CSO, performing the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1. Ann Monaco, Merit's Artistic Director, contacted Senator Dick Durbin about Tereza, when she learned that Tereza was having trouble gaining acceptance to colleges because she was undocumented. Senator Durbin began working on legislation which became known as the DREAM Act.
Tereza was eventually accepted into the Manhattan School of Music, where she is currently working toward a Doctor of Musical Arts degree and teaching at the college level. Among her musical achievements are: winner of the Koch Concerto Competition, winner of the Artists International Competition, performances at Carnegie Hall, Steinway Hall, Lincoln Center, Barge Music, Harris Theater, and the Ravinia Festival.
In 2010, Tereza became a proud United States citizen, and now lives with her husband in New York City. She continues to be an outspoken advocate for the DREAM Act, volunteering and speaking at events in New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.. She vows to "keep fighting for the DREAM Act until it is the law of the land".