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FYR 2019: First Year Reads

First Year Reads: This I Believe

Welcome to First-Year Reads! 

We are incredibly honored to feature NPR's highly acclaimed series, This I Believe as our First Year Reads. 

This year, first year students will also have the chance to enter the This I Believe contest!

To enter the university-wide contest, please let your professor know by Tues, Sept 24th so your piece may be considered.

Three winners will read their essay on the evening of Friday, Oct 18th, during the JWU Homecoming & Family Weekend kick-off event. 

Writing is about courage - the courage to be vulnerable and let your audience experience something meaningful to you. 

Be brave. Your words are more powerful than you know.  



First-Year Reads 2019: “This, I Believe” 




 For more information, contact Sarah Naomi Campbell, librarian at Downcity at or via our Ask a Librarian chat service on the library's homepage.

From Accessed 9 Aug. 2019:

“The History of ‘This I Believe’

This I Believe is an exciting national media project that invited Americans from all walks of life to write about and discuss the core beliefs that guide their daily lives. They shared these statements in weekly broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

The series is based on the 1950s radio program This I Believe, hosted by acclaimed journalist Edward R. Murrow. Each day, some 39-million Americans gathered by their radios to hear compelling essays from the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller and Harry Truman as well as corporate leaders, cab drivers, scientists and secretaries — anyone able to distill into a few minutes the guiding principles by which they lived. Their words brought comfort and inspiration to a country worried about the Cold War, McCarthyism and racial division.

Eventually, the radio series became a cultural phenomenon. Eighty-five leading newspapers printed a weekly column based on This I Believe. A collection of essays published in 1952 sold 300,000 copies — second only to the Bible that year. The series was translated and broadcast around the globe on the Voice of America. A book of essays translated into Arabic sold 30,000 copies in just three days.

In reviving and reinvigorating This I Believe, our goal is not to persuade Americans to agree on the same beliefs. Rather, we hope to encourage people to begin the much more difficult task of developing respect for beliefs different from their own. Fifty years ago, Edward R. Murrow’s project struck such a chord with millions of Americans. It can do so again today.”

By Producers Jay Allison and Dan Gediman

Explore student animations featuring This I Believe topics and get inspired!



The following Peer Reviewed, Scholarly articles explore themes addressed in the This I Believe selections.  For more information, contact Sarah Naomi Campbell, librarian at Downcity at or via our Ask a Librarian chat service on the library's homepage.

This I Believe: Trans-cendent  Keywords Transgender Identity, Transgender College Students, LGBTQI

Swanbrow Becker, Martin A., et al. “Supporting Transgender College Students: Implications for Clinical Intervention and Campus Prevention.” Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, vol. 31, no. 2, Apr. 2017, pp. 155–176. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1080/87568225.2016.1253441.

The Choice to Do it All Over Again Keywords: First Generation College, Community College, Resilience, Student-Parents

Carter, Barbara. “Impact of a Student-Scheduled Child Care Program on Parents’ Educational Goals.” Administrative Issues Journal: Connecting Education, Practice, and Research, vol. 6, no. 2, Jan. 2016, pp. 13–29. EBSCOhost.

The Power of Hello  Keywords: Greeting Behavior, Non-Verbal Communication, Positive Psychology

 Katsumi, Yuta, et al. “When Nonverbal Greetings ‘Make It or Break It’: The Role of Ethnicity and Gender in the Effect of Handshake on Social Appraisals.” Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, vol. 41, no. 4, Dec. 2017, pp. 345–365. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s10919-017-0257-0.

Black is Beautiful Keywords: Race, Identity, Surname, Discrimination, Muslim, African American, Black

Feldman, Michelle E., and Allyson J. Weseley. “Which Name Unlocks the Door? The Effect of Tenant Race/Ethnicity on Landlord Response.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology, vol. 43, June 2013, pp. E416–E425. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/jasp.12034.

Galarza, Francisco B., and Gustavo Yamada. “Triple Penalty in Employment Access: The Role of Beauty, Race, and Sex.” Journal of Applied Economics, vol. 20, no. 1, May 2017, pp. 29–47. EBSCOhost.

Our Lives Are Ephemeral Keywords: Race, Identity, Surname, Discrimination, Islam, African American, Black

Bruehlman-Senecal, Emma, and Ozlem Ayduk. “This Too Shall Pass: Temporal Distance and the Regulation of Emotional Distress.” Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, vol. 108, no. 2, Feb. 2015, p. 356. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1037/a0038324.

The Magic of Letters  Keywords: Adult Literacy, Adult Learners, Resilience

Severinsen, Debbie J., et al. “Teaching Strategies That Motivate English Language Adult Literacy Learners to Invest in Their Education: A Literature Review.” Literacy & Numeracy Studies, vol. 26, no. 1, Jan. 2018, pp. 25–42. EBSCOhost, doi:10.5130/lns.v26i1.6260.

Seeing Beyond Our Differences Keywords: Race-relations, Identity, Loving v. Virginia, Interracial Marriage

Canlas, Jerevie M., et al. “Same-Race and Interracial Asian-White Couples: Relational and Social Contexts and Relationship Outcomes.” Journal of Comparative Family Studies, vol. 46, no. 3, Summer 2015, pp. 307–328. EBSCOhost, doi:10.3138/jcfs.46.3.307.

America's Beauty Is In Our Diversity Keywords Muslim Identity, Hijab, Identity Negotiation, Social Identity Construction

Simorangkir, Deborah N., and Sigit Pamungkas. “Social Identity Construction and Negotiation among Hijab-Wearing Indonesian University Students.” Journal of Communication & Religion, vol. 41, no. 3, Fall 2018, pp. 14–31. EBSCOhost,

Life Is An Act of Literary Creation Keywords Poetry, Writing -- Identity, Writing - Social Aspects

Molloy, Cathryn. “Multimodal Composing as Healing: Toward a New Model for Writing as Healing Courses.” Composition Studies, vol. 44, no. 2, Fall 2016, pp. 134–152. EBSCOhost,

Creating Our Own Happiness Keywords affect dynamics, momentary mindfulnessmindfulness training, happiness

Rowland, Zarah, et al. “A Mind Full of Happiness: How Mindfulness Shapes Affect Dynamics in Daily Life.” Emotion, Dec. 2018. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1037/emo0000562.supp (Supplemental).

Failure Is A Good Thing  Keywords Failure, Resilience (Psychology), Experiential Learning

Jing, Tang, et al. “Study of Impact on Undergraduates’ Entrepreneurial Failure Based on the Model of Psychological Resilience-Knowledge Acquisition.” English Language Teaching, vol. 9, no. 8, Jan. 2016, pp. 224–230. EBSCOhost,

A Journey Toward Acceptance and Love Keywords: Homophobia, Gay Men, Coming Out, LGBTQ, Religion, Christianity

McCormick, Adam, and Stephen Baldridge. “Family Acceptance and Faith: Understanding the Acceptance Processes of Parents of LGBTQ Youth.” Social Work & Christianity, vol. 46, no. 1, Spring 2019, pp. 32–40. EBSCOhost,

Culture: A Beautiful Thing Keywords: Puerto Rican Identity, Mexican Identity, Culture, Dual Identity

Nunez, Anne-Marie, and Gloria Crisp. “Ethnic Diversity and Latino/a College Access: A Comparison of Mexican American and Puerto Rican Beginning College Students.” Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, vol. 5, no. 2, June 2012, pp. 78–95. EBSCOhost,