HRB 793 Case Studies in Herbal Product Design

HRB 793 is designed to present groups of students with business challenges and have them leverage all of their education and skills to present recommendations to the stakeholders.  All students signed a legally binding Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) prior to working with the stakeholders. For that reason, there are no artifacts, only this reflection.

We met with our stakeholders early on and were presented with various business problems. We were divided into groups and given particular areas to focus on. As a group, and individually, we immediately began looking for solutions to the problems.  The surprising part of the process was that the solutions, or hypothesis, were frequently determined to be outside the scope of assigned work.  Finding good ideas and then having to discard them because they are assigned to another group, or contrary to core values or framework of a company, requires significant discipline. Maintaining that discipline and avoiding scope creep was a constant challenge throughout the course.  I learned a great deal about some of the business problems faced by herbal product manufacturers, however, I will not be discussing those details as they are related to the problems we were presented.  

I will end this reflection by including an excerpt from my Individual Reflection Paper that I believer very clearly illustrates some of MUIH’s core values.

First, the group members each had different perspectives shaped by their cultural, religious, or social beliefs. Added to that, each group member had unique work experience and skills. The diversity in the group provided an advantage because it complimented the areas where I am weak. For instance, I apply a logical, analytic approach to problem-solving. I am not good at intuiting what others care about or understanding how information may be received. I have not worked in jobs where feelings were taken into account so it is a significant shortcoming for me.

In the fields of computer science and intelligence, there can be an undertone of academic and intellectual elitism. Value is placed on those with strength in those areas. Intellectual property and expertise are the currency. That currency does not serve a different market.  When dealing with healers, particularly those interested in holistic or spiritual healing, a deep understanding of scientific principles may not be as useful as someone with intuition and an ability to connect with people or plants. Without the intuition and insight from my teammates, I may well have been tone deaf to the needs of the stakeholders or unable to understand them.

HRB 690 Internship

HRB 690 is formally known as Internship. I chose to do 3 internships over 3 semesters, for a .5 credits each, rather than combine all the time into a one-semester internship. I was seeking out varied experiences and wanted to learn more about research, growing and cultivating plants, quality assurance, and several other topics.

I have written lengthy blog posts reflecting on these experiences and provided artifacts below.  There are technically 4 posts because I chose to continue one internship, without academic credit, last summer. I had already committed to a different internship but felt strongly that I should continue my work with microbial testing at MUIH.

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HRB 635b Field Trip/ Industry Intensive

HRB 635b is a field trip offered by Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) for students in the Product Design tract of the Masters of Therapeutic Herbalism program.  For one week the students travel to Asheville, North Carolina, located in the Appalachian Mountains in the western part of the state.  The students have the opportunity to visit various players in the herbal industry, getting behind the scenes tours and hands-on experience.  The week is designed in a way that students get to see all aspects of the industry: growing the crops, natural product development, herbal schools, scientific research, conservation efforts, etc.

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HRB 622 Herbal Pharmacy and Product Presentation

I will be very honest here. I took this class twice. I made it all the way to the end of the first course, having learned so much about creating products, and then I ended up failing due to not requesting an incomplete when something came up. I do not hide this fact.  I have included artifacts from BOTH courses as I feel that they are demonstrative of mastery of the skills and illustrate what true growth and learning sometimes look like (some of us have to learn the hard way).  I suppose I am likely unique in that I have taken this course both in-person and online.

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