Meet Your DLA Team
With graduate degrees in English, and more than 50 years' combined Master's- and PhD-level editing experience, together with the success our clients have enjoyed, there are no better editors than ours in the business.
(UNESCO), where he mastered the knowledge and skills needed to edit a broad range of documents. He returned to the U.S. in 2008 to found a premier provider of high-quality document editing, critique, consultation and proofreading services, and thus began DLA Editors & Proofers.
Empowering Others to Use Their Voice
David was born in Houston, Texas, and has lived in St. Louis, Paris, Brazil and Buenos Aires. In St. Louis, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Mathematics with a minor in English literature from Washington University. At UNESCO headquarters in Paris, his colleagues came from all over the globe. In rural Rio Grande do Norte, in a small village with no running water, he assisted on a two-month sanitation project to build brick-and-mortar outhouses with brick-lined septic tanks. And in Buenos Aires, he studied Argentine literature, including the aguafuertes of Roberto Arlt and the poetry of Jorge Luis Borges.
Empowering Candidates Through Their Personal Statements
Through these experiences, David developed his passion for empowering others to use their voice. This was the approach he took when friends began asking him to help them with their personal statements, while he was still working for UNESCO. There was one friend in particular, applying for medical residency in the United States, who had almost everything going against her.
She was an international medical graduate from Venezuela, with more than two years since she had graduated from medical school, no US clinical experience, almost two years since her last clinical experience (she had moved to the US to study for and pass the USMLE tests), and an F1 visa that would run out as soon as she stopped taking test-preparation classes at Kaplan. The approach that David took was to guide her in being proud of her accomplishments while also accepting—but not apologizing for—her shortcomings, or red flags. With his guidance, she wrote an outstanding personal statement and compelling ERAS application, and she was able to obtain a PGY1 position in OB-GYN, which was her specialty.
Empowering Organizations Through Their Brands
This same approach is the one David took with a leading maker of touchscreens for service and retail environments. Despite the exciting innovations they continually brought to the market, they felt their voice had gone stale and needed a new direction. David started with their press releases, showing them ways to express the boldness of their technology through the bold innovative use of language. If they wanted to brand themselves as pioneers in their market, the first step was to pioneer a fresh voice for their corporate communications.
Empowering Script Writers Through Their Screenplays
When it comes to authors, no medium is more reliant on the writer's ability to master the use of voice than the screenplay. David sees this in all the screenplays he edits—that the strength of each character's voice, from believability to engagement, no matter how different from each other, can be no greater than the strength of the author's voice behind it. It is this perspective David employs to transform our clients' characters to take on lives of their own, and the one David teaches to all our editors at DLA Editors & Proofers.
Terry Cummings, Editor
Joined DLA Editors & Proofers in 2012
Terry’s parents instilled a love of literature in her as a toddler with the classic work, Fox in Socks, which is still one of her favorites. As a young girl, though, she would often get in trouble for reading under the covers by flashlight when she was supposed to be asleep. She enjoyed writing and in high school found that teaching was an equally strong gift. She combined these into a Bachelor of Science in Education and, later, a Master of Science in Education at Baylor University. Her passion was to help students develop their writing while also sharing her love of literature and poetry with them.
Whether it's providing feedback to a client on a personal statement, editing a K-9 magazine in the AP style or reviewing the citations and references of a dissertation for APA adherence, Terry takes the same approach as she took in the classroom. She helps writers of all backgrounds seek strengths while identifying weaknesses, and tailors her advice to each client's individual needs. She finds personal statements especially lend themselves to teachable moments, and enjoys learning her clients’ stories as she guides them in narrating them confidently and proudly in pursuit of their life-changing goals.
Terry loves reading in many genres, including historical and humorous fiction, young adult literature, children’s books, and nearly any story with a dog in it, although she refuses to read the chapter in which the dog dies. Among her favorite authors are Patrick McManus, Ann B. Ross, Richard Peck, and the author/illustrator team of Helen Lester and Lynn Munsinger. In her free time she enjoys photography, serving new recipes to friends and family, training and showing dogs in AKC Obedience, and making animal-assisted therapy visits.
Dania Mahmoud, Editor
Joined DLA Editors & Proofers in 2015
Dania's love for storytelling was sparked by the Harry Potter series; as a young girl, she was notorious for reading through math class and stealing her mother's robe, which she was convinced was a wizarding cloak. Eventually, Dania's literary interests became more varied, and she became determined to contribute her voice to the written world. As an English-Creative Writing major at the University of Houston, she published several short fiction pieces and gained a reputation for her thought-provoking critical analysis essays.
When Dania became a writing tutor at the Honors College, she discovered the joy of helping students enhance their critical arguments by encouraging them to dig deeper into texts, reconsider essay organization, and recognize grammatical errors. Several times, this required her students to dig deeper into themselves.
One such student was a sixth grader with dyslexia. In their first session, he was reluctant to open his textbook, let alone read and analyze the assigned story. He struggled before finally revealing he had trouble seeing the letters in order. That’s when Dania took a new approach; she asked him to read aloud, guiding him through the words he had trouble with. At the end of every page, she would ask him how he could relate the story to his own experiences. He began to grow in self-confidence and soon found he could answer assignment questions on his own. After their last session together, he thanked Dania for the help she had given him, and for the success he had achieved as a result.
From analyzing the changes needed to make a dissertation APA compliant to assessing a candidate’s background and qualifications in guiding him or her to achieve a compelling personal statement, Dania brings the same thoughtful and detailed approach to every project. A native Houstonian, she enjoys biking through her neighborhood and frequenting local coffee shops with a journal in hand.
Ann Harshbarger received her Master of Arts in English Literature and Composition from The Ohio State University. While there, she collaborated on drafting and editing a grant project for the American Theological Library Association that digitally archived material from an extensive rare books collection. She worked closely with strict formatting guidelines as well as Library of Congress subject heading cataloging. Additionally, she instructed numerous undergraduate composition courses for the university.
Prior to joining DLA Editors & Proofers, Ann spent seven years teaching English Literature and Composition in both secondary and post-secondary school settings. Her career has focused heavily on not only the instruction of successful writing skills, but also on the research, editing and revision needed to compose a successful document, particularly dissertations, theses and academic articles following APA, Chicago, MLA and Turabian formatting guidelines. She also continues to remain active in academia by submitting theoretical, literature-based seminar papers to conferences and publications.
Ann spends her leisure time cooking and baking for family and friends. She is also an avid reader and enjoys the work of early 20th century modernists such as Virginia Woolf, Jean Rhys and Richard Wright, in addition to more contemporary authors like Ian McEwan, Toni Morrison and Maxine Hong Kingston.