- Trailblazer for women in the field of Engineering and Engineering faculty
- Secured nearly $1 million for the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering for research design and analysis of chemical processes
- Recipient of a prestigious five-year research grant from the National Institute of Health.
- Instrumental in establishing a strong connection between Hillcrest School and KU's Engineering Department
- 1994: Recipient of the Ned Fleming Award for Outstanding Classroom Teaching
- 1995: Winner of the University's Honors for Outstanding Progressive Educator (HOPE) Award
Especially when considering the very small fraction of women earning doctorate degrees in engineering and those who go on to be engineering faculty, Dr. Marylee Southard is "truly blazing a trail in this regard. She is an excellent role model," stated Don W. Green, Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering. As a talented and exceptional teacher and advisor, she won the University's Honors for Outstanding Progressive Educator (HOPE) Award in 1995 and the Ned Fleming Award for Outstanding Classroom Teaching in 1004. One of her former students, Sara Espinoza-Toro, described her advising as unique, positive, and revolutionary. "She invites each one of us to dream without limitations to explore our talents, to strive for knowledge, to make positive impact on people's lives, and most importantly to believe in ourselves." Former Office Manager of Dr. Southard's department, Doris L. Eagleman, likewise remarks, "She goes the second mile to make everyone feel as if they would be an asset to our program."
Dr. Southard has secured nearly one million dollars for the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering for research design and analysis of chemical processes. She is also the recipient of a prestigious five-year research grant from the National Institute of Health. Professor Kim Roddis adds, "[She] has made enormous contributions to the recruitment, retention, and education of women Engineering students at the University of Kansas...She has served on national committees and written articles for the National Magazine." Carl Locke, former Dean of the School of Engineering, refers to her publication record as "excellent, both in quality and quantity. She is one of the more productive faculty in research in the School of Engineering."
Aside from being a well-known, respected engineer in the University community, she is also highly involved and notable in the Lawrence community. Hillcrest Elementary School former principal, Bob Arevalo, depicts her role in this link as "instrumental in securing a strong connection between Hillcrest School and KU's Engineering Department. In a field that has traditionally been male-dominated, I regard her as an inspirational leader providing encouragement and guidance to her aspiring young engineers. The list of achievements, contributions, and acknowledgments of this remarkable woman is endless."