Dustin, Devin, and Branson Hipp

A doctor, a numismatist, and a priest walk out of Starr’s Mill

Brothers+Dustin%2C+Devin%2C+and+Branson+Hipp+all+graduated+from+Starr%E2%80%99s+Mill+with+high+career+hopes+in+mind.+Although+their+ideal+futures+were+very+different%2C+all+three+brothers+were+able+to+succeed+in+their+prefered+fields.+
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Dustin, Devin, and Branson Hipp

Brothers Dustin, Devin, and Branson Hipp all graduated from Starr’s Mill with high career hopes in mind. Although their ideal futures were very different, all three brothers were able to succeed in their prefered fields.

Brothers Dustin, Devin, and Branson Hipp all graduated from Starr’s Mill with high career hopes in mind. Although their ideal futures were very different, all three brothers were able to succeed in their prefered fields.

Photos courtesy of Dustin, Devin, and Branson Hipp

Brothers Dustin, Devin, and Branson Hipp all graduated from Starr’s Mill with high career hopes in mind. Although their ideal futures were very different, all three brothers were able to succeed in their prefered fields.

Photos courtesy of Dustin, Devin, and Branson Hipp

Photos courtesy of Dustin, Devin, and Branson Hipp

Brothers Dustin, Devin, and Branson Hipp all graduated from Starr’s Mill with high career hopes in mind. Although their ideal futures were very different, all three brothers were able to succeed in their prefered fields.

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Like many students who walk through the doors of Starr’s Mill, the Hipp brothers used the knowledge they gained as Panthers to help them reach their career goals. Although they may be brothers, the futures they envisioned were all very different.

The oldest of the brothers, Dustin Hipp, was unsure exactly what career path he would choose in high school, but he knew it would involve his passion for math and science. During his time at the Mill, Dustin was involved with both the Math Team and Science Olympiad.

“I knew that I loved math and science, and I took every gifted and AP science class that I could when I was in high school,” Dustin said. “I really enjoyed those classes and they prepared me very well for a future in science. I had a general sense that I might want to do medicine at that point but didn’t solidify that plan until I was in college.”

Dustin graduated from the Mill in 2004 with close to a semester and a half of college credits. From there, Dustin attended Georgia Tech as a chemistry major, but ultimately ended up graduating as Tech’s first biochemistry major.

“[Having AP college credits] gave me a little more flexibility in my schedule to take classes that interested me rather than just what I needed for graduation,” Dustin said. “While I was at Georgia Tech I would also take opportunities to meet and work with as many physicians as possible.”

As a pediatric intensivist I take care of critically ill children that not only need admission to the hospital but to the ICU.”

— Dustin Hipp

While at Tech, Dustin shadowed a pediatric endocrinologist at Emory Healthcare and worked in the emergency department at Grady Hospital. Experiences like these helped Dustin decide a career in medicine was the perfect fit for him.

“Grady is a tremendous place because it serves a patient population that really has nowhere else to go,” Dustin said. “That is when I really confirmed for me that medicine would be a great place to combine my love for science and math with the desire to serve others and make lives a little better and a little easier.”

After graduating Tech, Dustin attended medical school at Vanderbilt School of Medicine in Nashville, where he earned his medical degree as well as a business degree in systems improvement. Following completing medical school in 2013, Dustin became a resident at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, where he worked as a pediatric physician. Three years later, when Dustin finished his residency, he decided to stay at the hospital and begin work in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

“As a pediatric intensivist I take care of critically ill children that not only need admission to the hospital but to the ICU,” Dustin said.

What drives people that are happiest in healthcare is the commitment to helping other people and making what are sometimes people’s worst days just a little more bearable.”

— Dustin Hipp

Most commonly, Dustin takes care of infants with breathing problems but also addresses children with brain injuries, severe asthma, septic shock, and congenital heart disease.

“It can be a very stressful job, a stressful environment, but it’s ultimately extremely satisfying,” Dustin said. “I enjoy the physiology that I use on a day to day basis that goes back to what I learned even in my AP Chemistry and AP Biology classes. So the physiology is interesting but you also develop meaningful relationships with the families and these days that you meet the families are sometimes the hardest days of a parents’ life and you walk with them and you explain what’s going on. It’s extremely rewarding work. It’s challenging as well.”

Dustin advises high school students to consider a career in medicine. Despite the years of schooling necessary, he asserted that healthcare is one of the most intriguing and rewarding career pathways.

“It’s a very innovative field, it’s exciting, and ultimately you feel like you are making a difference in people’s lives,” Dustin said. “What drives people that are happiest in healthcare is the commitment to helping other people and making what are sometimes people’s worst days just a little more bearable.”

Unlike his older brother, Devin Hipp knew exactly what he wanted to do with his future from a young age.

“I started collecting coins when I was eight or nine-years-old, and when I was in middle and high school I was working towards having a full-time career as a numismatist, which is basically a fancy name for someone who studies and learns about coins,” Devin said. “I wanted to have my own business buying and selling coins and work professionally in that capacity in the rare coin business.”

I always sort of had an obsessive learning personality so that whenever I want to learn about something I learn absolutely everything that I possibly can about it.”

— Devin Hipp

Devin’s interest in coins started when he found currency his father had brought back from his business trips to Europe. Intrigued by his find, Devin began to learn all he could about coins as a kid.

“I just thought that [the foreign currencies] were very interesting. And then I ended up finding a book about coins specifically,” Devin said. “I always sort of had an obsessive learning personality so that whenever I want to learn about something I learn absolutely everything that I possibly can about it.”

Immediately after graduating from the Mill in 2006, Devin started an internship with a rare coin company in Irvine, California. After three months in southern California, Devin returned to Georgia to attend Georgia Tech like his brother Dustin. While at Tech, Devin worked for a coin dealer in the Atlanta area.

“I learned the ins and outs of running a small business on a daily basis,” Devin said. “I was doing that while going to school at the same time so I saw how that was done. And then when I graduated Georgia Tech I picked up a lot of skills as far as accounting and just general networking — how to go out and raise capital for a business and get professional services down and thinks like that.”

When Devin graduated from Tech in 2012, he quit his job with the coin dealer in Atlanta and started his own business, which he has more recently relocated to Virginia Beach. Starting his business, Devin benefited a lot from relationships he had built while he was at Starr’s Mill.

“A lot of the networking and everything for my business came from Starr’s Mill relationships. One of my first investors was somebody that I met at Starr’s Mill,” Devin said. “It ended up being one of the parents of somebody I went to school with. I’ve had several customers from Starr’s Mill. My accountant is the mother of somebody I went to Starr’s Mill with.”

As a numismatist and business owner, Devin not only travels to auctions and shows buying, selling, and judging rare coins, but also has to manage the accounting and financial side of the business.

“It’s actually turned out a lot better than I thought it would,” Devin said. “I’ve been able to be very fortunate, very successful, doing this and it has been much better than I’d ever dreamt it would have when I was in high school. As far as like a lot of people don’t necessarily want to go to work on a Monday I look forward to going to work on a Monday. I really don’t work, to be honest with you. It’s just very fun for me running a business and buying and selling coins. It’s something I’ve loved to do for a long time.’’

Take what you learn working for a corporation, see places that they really excel and places that have shortcomings where they could be doing better, and whenever you start your own business enact those changes that you want to see.”

— Devin Hipp

Devin advises future entrepreneurs to take the risk of starting a business while they are still young. He explains this way you have less to lose, whereas when you are older you’ll be more reluctant to go out on your own.

“I think that especially coming out of high school the important thing is to always keep in mind is to think about what you are really passionate about doing and if you’re really good at that the money is going to follow along with it,” Devin said. “Take what you learn working for a corporation, see places that they really excel and places that have shortcomings where they could be doing better, and whenever you start your own business enact those changes that you want to see.”

Similar to Dustin, Branson, the youngest of the brothers, was unsure about his future while attending Starr’s Mill. Branson excelled at philosophy and literature rather than the math and sciences that intrigued Dustin.

“Honestly, I really enjoyed literature and philosophy and music as well,” Branson said. “Besides spending time with friends and things like that, I was reading a lot of literature at the time.”

After graduating from the Mill in 2007, Branson decided to enter a seminary and study toward becoming a Catholic priest.

Very often we don’t know what we actually want, and so out of my desire to know God and to live differently and live better, weirdly enough this desire for the priesthood began to grow…”

— Branson Hipp

“I really fell in love with the Catholic faith on an intellectual level and got really interested in it and was moved by the depth of it that there’s such a rich history but also the philosophy and the theology of it,” Branson said. “But also there were particular events in my life that changed me and caused me to desire to live differently and follow God. Very often we don’t know what we actually want, and so out of my desire to know God and to live differently and live better, weirdly enough this desire for the priesthood began to grow and it was something kind of strange that I didn’t understand but I couldn’t deny it existed. So I decided to follow that initial desire.”

Branson attended Saint Joseph Seminary College in Saint Benedict, Louisiana. There, Branson was able to follow his passion for philosophy.

“I really loved [Saint Joseph Seminary College], and I really enjoyed it particularly because I was studying philosophy,” Branson said. “The way that they did their program was really neat in that you would be studying ancient philosophy like Greco-Roman history and reading epic literature all at the same time as far as classes, so whenever you hit a particular period like Medieval Times or the Renaissance or the Modern World you would be studying it from the perspective of history, philosophy, literature, and architecture. You’re seeing how all those things connected, which was really great.”

Following graduating from Saint Joseph Seminary College, Branson attended Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Iningberg, Maryland, where he studied theology. Branson began his pastoral assignments which included studying Spanish in Mexico and working with the Spanish speaking community, teaching at an elementary and middle school, working in prison ministry with an immigration attorney, and in a parish in Washington, D.C.  

“That was all part of my studies, and that was a lot of fun,” Branson said.

Branson graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in 2015 with a Master’s in Theology with a specialization in Church History and a Master’s in Divinity. Branson was then ordained a priest on June 27, 2015, and assigned to begin working at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church in Norcross, Georgia.

“I was [at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church] for two years and I was working primarily with the youth and also primarily with the Spanish speaking community primarily with immigrants actually,” Branson said. “It was a really fun time. It was a great community. An interesting community. It was a 90% immigrant community and not just from the Spanish speaking countries but also we had a large French-speaking African community and a good sized Korean and Vietnamese community so I learned a lot. It was a lot of fun. I learned a lot about a lot of different cultures and the food was really really good.”

You get to be with people in some of their most beautiful moments, but then you also get to stay with them in their most painful moments.”

— Branson Hipp

Now, Branson works at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Flowery Branch, Georgia. As a priest, Branson celebrates mass, does marriage preparations as well as marriages, visits the sick and dying, celebrates funerals, and works with college students and young adults to help them grow in their spiritual lives. Branson performs these tasks in both Spanish and English as he still works a lot with the Spanish speaking community. What Branson enjoys most is connecting with people and being a part of meaningful moments in their lives.

“Being with people helping to prepare them for marriage and then you get to marry them and be with them on that important day. And then you get to be with families when they’re grieving in funerals. And baptisms, right? Moments of recognizing the gift of their child,” Branson said. “You get to be with people in some of their most beautiful moments, but then you also get to stay with them in their most painful moments. I think so many people live life with a mask on, they don’t live in a true way in front of things, and so to have this constant invitation to be with people in these really raw, personable moments and to stay with them in that is really beautiful and I love it.”

Similar to Dustin working with families at the hospital, Branson is able to comfort people on some of their hardest days. This personal connection is why both brothers find their careers so rewarding. Looking back to high school, Branson also realizes priesthood combines everything he was looking for in a career.

“In high school, what I thought I wanted was to actually teach somewhere to teach philosophy, to teach literature, to teach,” Branson said. “It’s funny how the things that I wanted to do I get to do now in a really profound way. It’s very different than I thought.”

It’s funny how the things that I wanted to do I get to do now in a really profound way.”

— Branson Hipp

Branson advises high school students to pay attention to their reality and to be open. These two elements were key to Branson finding his place as a priest. He had to pay attention to his desire to follow God and be open to a career option he may have never previously considered.

“I think the biggest mistake is two things, one we have to be a student of reality, meaning we have to pay attention to what we are living with have to live with attention, and then the second thing which is connected is that we have to be open because the moment we think we already know we are in big trouble because reality is surprising and beautiful,” Branson said. “And so I think that’s the biggest thing we have to pay attention to: what we are living and we have to be open.”

Even though the Hipp brothers may have all followed different career paths, they were all able to find success and happiness in what they love doing. Their stories demonstrate how Starr’s Mill has provided students with applicable skills no matter what their futures entail. The possibilities for a Panther graduate are truly endless.

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