A new science scholarship will help students at West Broward High School in Pembroke Pines, FL  who hope to pursue higher education.

Marler Clark, the Seattle-based food safety law firm, announced a donation Monday of $10,000 to the newly established Marler Clark–Samantha Safranek Scholarship Fund.

Samantha Safranek, who graduated from West Broward High last spring, was one of 40 people who became ill in 2007 with E. coli O157:H7 infections after eating contaminated hamburgers produced by the now defunct Topps Meat Company.  Safranek was hospitalized for three weeks after developing hemolytic uremic syndrome, a life-threatening complication.

 The outbreak led to a recall of 21.7 million pounds of beef, the second largest meat recall in U.S. history.

The scholarship was established after the resolution of Safranek’s case against the meat company.  

“The scholarship is intended to honor Ms. Safranek’s courage,” said Marler Clark founding partner Bill Marler, who works on behalf of victims of foodborne illness nationwide and represented Safranek in a claim against Topps Meat. 

Marler said he hopes the scholarship will encourage students to enter areas of academic study and professional careers with the goal of understanding and reducing human illness, like E. coli O157:H7 infections.

Marler Clark has been representing victims of E. coli outbreaks for nearly 20 years.  So far in 2010, the law firm has given $90,000 to foster education and provide scholarships in communities affected by foodborne illness.