By Nick Wolters
As I revise my panel presentation for my third meeting of the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, I am reminded of the first “ASECS” presentation I prepared as a graduate student under the close guidance of David Gies. I had only just begun my dissertation research when I received a call for papers for a panel about representations of clothing and fashion in eighteenth-century Spain. Having never presented at a conference, I was nervous about the idea of sharing what I had to say to an audience of experts—what did I have to say? Not only did David encourage me to submit an abstract, but he also read through several drafts of my paper, providing invaluable advice along the way (not to mention patiently correcting more than one run-on sentence or repetition!). Throughout this process and in other coursework, David helped me to find my own voice as a young scholar. He always demonstrated the importance of threading together my argument with those of other critical voices, while convincing me of the value of my point of view as a student-scholar. That first conference presentation on the work of Tomás de Iriarte would end up being a draft for one of my first publications, which then became the writing sample I used when I went on the job market during the final year of my PhD at the University of Virginia. I am and will continue to be eternally grateful for David’s patience as a teacher and enduring generosity as a mentor.
Thank you, David, for everything. I can only hope that I am able to encourage my students in the same that you have and, I am certain, will continue to encourage and inspire me!
Nick Wolters (former student)