More than skin deep
FORT PIERCE, FLA. — The media spotlight once again shone on veterinary medicine in a less-than-traditional way.
Goldstein earned a spot as a semi-finalist in this year's Ms. America Pageant in Anaheim, Calif."It is not uncommon for people to do a double take when they hear veterinarian and pageant girl in the same sentence. It makes no sense to most," she says. "But, there are a few of us out there," she points out, like Debbye Turner, DVM, former Miss America and a spokesperson for CBS.
It was beauty pageants, in fact, that paved and practically paid the way for Goldstein to pursue her dream of becoming a marine mammal veterinarian.
As a teenager she competed in pageants throughout Florida, winning several titles and scholarships that she put toward her education at Auburn University. Once starting veterinary school, competing in pageants, however, was not an option.
Post-veterinary school, the competition of pageantry was still in Goldstein's blood as she entered and won the Ms. Florida United States pageant in 2009. Next up was garnering the title of Ms. Congeniality United States at the national level pageant in Las Vegas. The Ms. America pageant was the logical next step in her journey.
She's done all this while building her career in veterinary medicine. Currently, Goldstein serves as attending clinical veterinarian for the Fort Pierce, Fla.-based Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute/Florida Atlantic University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. She's trained at various marine locales, including the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California, Dolphin Quest Hawaii and Oahu, as well as the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
"When I speak to groups about marine conservation or cancer care for pets, I am essentially preaching to the choir," she says. "Holding a title opens up doors and brings my work and charities to a completely different demographic from what I am usually exposed to. Over the past few years, I have logged over 200 marathon miles wearing my sash to raise awareness for groups such as the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and Wheelchairs for Warriors," she adds.
Because of the pageantry exposure, Goldstein is about to launch a non-profit organization to honor the memory of her Golden Retriever, "Stryder" who she lost to hemangiosarcoma. The Stryder Cancer Foundation will aid pets and humans with financial and emotional support as they deal with cancer diagnosis and treatments.