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Jacob Dein, a graduate student studying geography, has received a 2019 American Geographical Society (AGS) Council Fellowship for his research studying the impact of noise pollution in urban spaces.

Dein is one of four students from around the country selected for the fellowship and the first UT student to receive the fellowship since its inception in 2014.

The award will fund his master’s thesis project, “Where Do the City Birds Sing? The Influence of Green Space on an Urban Landscape.”

His research aims to understand the properties of urban green space that promote birdsong and whether birdsong makes urban environments more pleasant for people.

Jacob Dein
Jacob Dein

Dein said he chose the topic after visiting Innsbruck, Austria, on a Fulbright research grant to study soundscape ecology and noise pollution in the Alps.

“Noise pollution is anything that stems from machines that are human-made,” Dein said. “It’s an insidious source of pollution. If you go to bed at night, it’s not going to noticeably harm you the next day, but over 10 to 20 years it starts to make an impact.”

The fellowship will allow Dein the opportunity to spend time in the field.

“It’s all about promoting field work, because geography is rooted in exploration,” Dein said.

Dein said Professor of Geography Sally Horn’s support helped him earn the fellowship.

Horn said Dein is deserving of the honor.

“This fellowship program is new, and we are so excited and proud that Jacob is the first from UT to receive this,” Horn said. As a fellow, Dein will be recognized at the AGS’s annual fall symposium, to be held November 21–22 at Columbia University.

After graduating next year, Dein plans to pursue a doctorate.


Brian Canever (865-974-0937,

Courtney Cox (