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‘Dolphin Tale’ vet encourages exploring the unknown in Ohio State speech

Juli Goldstein poses with the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland, Margaret Stinstrom, vice president of the OSU’s Women in Math and Science Club, and Anne Carey, the club’s adviser. Credit: Courtesy of Margaret Stinstrom

Juli Goldstein poses with the Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland, Margaret Stinstrom, vice president of the OSU’s Women in Math and Science Club, and Anne Carey, the club’s adviser.
Credit: Courtesy of Margaret Stinstrom

Juli Goldstein’s resume includes marine mammals, a major movie and beauty pageants. She said one of her most important roles, however, is to encourage women to have a voice.

Goldstein, a marine mammal veterinarian and assistant research professor at Florida Atlantic University, was a guest speaker for the OSU’s Women in Math and Science distinguished women in science lecture series. She lectured at the Veterinary Medical Center Auditorium Monday and Tuesday.

She worked on the set of the 2011 film “Dolphin Tale,” which is based on a true story about an injured dolphin named Winter. Alongside four other veterinarians, she served as an on-site doctor for Winter, Goldstein was involved in some of Winter’s early medical treatments and helped her to learn how to swim again with the help of a prosthetic tail.

Goldstein sat on the original board that discussed if it was even possible to make a prosthetic tail for a dolphin.

“That was a very exciting time when the idea came up because no one had ever done it,” Goldstein said in an interview with The Lantern.

On the day of the wrap-up party for the film, Goldstein and her team rescued another dying dolphin named Hope. Hope’s survival story lead to the plot of a sequel, “Dolphin Tale 2,” which is set be released Sept. 19.

“I have a cameo in the second film and got to work and do (some) technical advising to the director,” Goldstein said. “It was very exciting to be involved on that side of it, and I never thought when I went to vet school, I would be walking a red carpet in Hollywood.”

She earned a Bachelor of Science in zoology from Auburn University and a doctorate of veterinary medicine from Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Her love for animals began when she was 2 years old, she said, after her German Shepherd was put down.

“It was very hard to deal with that grief as a small child of losing your animal and best friend, so I decided on that very day that I wanted to become a veterinarian so no other animal would have to be put to sleep,” Goldstein said during her lecture. “Unfortunately, that was wishful thinking, but it was that one event that changed my entire path and is the reason for everything that I do.”

As a teenager, Goldstein began competing in beauty pageants and acquired speaking skills from pageant coaches that helped her later as a veterinarian.

“A very big part of being a vet is talking to your clients and relating to them, and those lessons I use in my career, I directly attribute to all of those pageants,” Goldstein said.

Goldstein also founded the Stryder Cancer Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides emotional and financial support for animals and their owners during the diagnosis and treatment of canine cancer.

Margaret Stinstrom, a second-year in biology and vice president of OSU’s Women in Math and Science, introduced Goldstein and said her endeavors are admirable.

“Her beauty, brains, warm heart and dedication to the advancement of women in science is uplifting and provides us with the courage to face the many challenges (women) face in our pursuit of science,” Stinstrom said.

Some OSU veterinary students said Goldstein’s story motivated them.

Karissa Magnuson, a third-year in veterinary medicine, said it was fun to hear Goldstein speak.

“What she does is really exciting and for me was something to look forward to and keep me going before I start clinics in a couple of weeks,” Magnuson said.

Yvette Chretien, a third-year in veterinary medicine, said Goldstein’s story reassured her as she goes into her fourth year because she is busy planning for post-graduation.

“Hearing her story about where your career can take you and that you can succeed in working with these amazing animals was really great,” Chretien said. “And knowing that even if I don’t get certain opportunities right off the bat, (I) can still follow (my) dreams.”

Goldstein said she hopes to set an example for others.

“As a role model and beauty queen, my experiences go beyond the make-up, hair and the pretty clothes,” Goldstein said in an interview with The Lantern. “It’s setting an example for young girls and giving back to your community and using that title and prestige to have a voice.”

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