Southard graduated from Elon University in 2007, where she majored in business and dance. She is currently working toward her Master's Degree at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.
For the pageant, Southard's platform was "Scoliosis: Ahead of the Curve." She suffered from scoliosis, until two years ago when she underwent surgery to correct the curvature of her spine.
Southard said she plans to travel across the state promoting her platform and easing the fears of other people who suffer from scoliosis.
She will compete in the Miss America Pageant in Las Vegas in January of 2010.
Other winners from Saturday night were first runner-up was Miss Fayetteville Adrienne Core. She also took home the Miss America Academic Award.
The second runner-up was Miss Western Carolina Jamee Hunt, followed by Miss Greater Johnston County Ashley Beasley and fourth runner-up Miss Sandhills Lisa Mace.
The remaining top eleven contestants were Miss Mount Holly Lauren Workman; Miss Cabarrus County Mallory Honeycutt; Miss Wilmington Stevie Riverbark; Miss Mecklenburg County Aryn Ward; Miss Wake County Amanda Sowards and Miss Garner Chelsea Ingram. Ingram won the Miss American Community Service Award and the Children's Miracle Network Top Fund-raiser Miracle Maker Award.