All it took was a phone call. Next thing she knew she was at a hospital, in the psych ward. Independent Study kicks off its new season with a look at how and why, year after year, thousands of people are involuntarily committed. We trace the personal stories of two UVa students — including our new producer — and ask some tough questions about mental health and the legal system surrounding it.

Past Episodes

Our Staff

Debtor's prison

Join us for the last episode of this season of Independent Study as explore a local story involving discrimination, the law and drivers licenses. 

Hangin' with mama

What if everything really does happen for a reason? What if people don't stop living once they die? In this episode of Independent Study, we're taking a look at a very special relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter — we're hangin' with Mama.

death in a hospital

"We put death in a hospital." Let's begin with a frank conversation with death's colleague. How does working alongside death affect one's understanding of mortality? How do cultural norms around death influence the way we deliver emergency medical care? Sarah Alberstein explores these questions and more in this inaugural episode of Independent Study.

independent study preview

Coming up on the first episode of Independent Study: a rendezvous with death and emergency medicine. Founding producer and host Sarah Alberstein will be spending the night shadowing an EMT and finding out some frank truths about life and death.


Sydney Halleman

Producer, 2018 - 2019


Sarah Alberstein

Host, Founding Producer


Robert Armengol

Executive Producer