Teach for America has selected and hired 42 recent UCSB graduates to work as beginning teachers in low-income public schools around the nation.

This amount marks an increase of 11 students from last year’s number and solidifies UCSB’s rank as the country’s 19th top large-scale university contributor to the public service program. The only other UC campuses with a higher number of admitted students are UC Berkeley, with 89 total accepted individuals and UCLA with 61.

According to Teach for America’s UCSB Recruitment Manager Elyse Colgan, while UCSB increased the number of admitted applicants this year, the school can send even more in 2013 if it employs the same type of activism seen at UC Berkeley.

“First and foremost, we need more Gauchos to explore Teach for America as an option and submit an application,” Colgan said in an email. “We need more people to apply and at least consider [the program].”

Teach for America is a nonprofit organization that hires recent college graduates to work for two years as elementary and high school teachers in low-income urban and rural public school districts. Its program is designed to expand the educational opportunities for over 16 million children across the country who face the challenges of poverty.

This year, Teach for America received a record 48,000 applicants for 5,200 teaching positions.

The organization hires students from all majors; this year’s requirements were a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5 and a bachelor’s degree by July 2013. Teach for America trains participants in a five-week intensive training course prior to assigning them their classrooms.

Colgan said the organization accepts graduates from all types of academic backgrounds and experience levels.

“[There is] no specific personality profile or background that predicts success in the classroom,” Colgan said. “Some corps members were educators prior to joining, but many do not have any prior experience in the education field.”

Fourth-year psychology major Alexis Sall said she is applying for the Teach For America program this year because she feels that her research experience and education at UCSB has prepared her well for the role.

“My current research involves creating technology to implement in low-income communities,” Sall said. “Between my research and the classes I have taken here, I feel that I would really be able to help these students and make them feel like someone cares about them succeeding in the real world. Additionally, I feel that my research can help bring technology to schools that otherwise could not afford it.”

According to Colgan, university students have an obligation to address and help correct the widespread problem of education inequality that permeates society.

“Corps members are charged with very high-stakes work — helping their students achieve the academic success that will expand their life opportunities,” Colgan said. “Our 42 Gauchos from 2012 will impact over 6,300 students in their two years, and many of them will continue to work for Teach for America as second-generation corps.”

The next deadline for applications, which consist of a 500-word letter of intent and a resume, is Friday, Nov. 2. More information about the program and the application process can be found on the Teach for America website at www.teachforamerica.org.