Guest Contributor: Zak Malamed, Founder & Executive Director of Student Voice.

Since May 2012, Student Voice has carried a conversation that once never existed. It started with a few tweets, then, two years in a row, we brought students, teachers, parents, politicians, thought leaders and change makers to New York City for our Student Voice Live! education summit. We may have started as a motley crew of students, but we shared—and still share—one common goal: to empower students to use their voices and embrace their inherent roles as stakeholders in the education community. Students should have the power to shape their learning experiences, and Student Voice is committed to making this power a tangible reality.

Now, two and a half years later, we are taking this conversation across the country with the help of Cengage Learning. In 2015, Cengage and Student Voice will meet students where they are in Las Vegas, Boston and San Francisco. We are also thrilled to announce the first Student Voice Live! summit in Austin, Texas at SXSWedu this March. The summits will help us directly connect with students and provide them with a platform to express and act on their needs and desires to improve their education.

We have a long way to go to ensure that every student has an authentic voice in the decisions that affect their lives, but we believe our partnership with Cengage Learning and our summit at SXSWedu are two great steps in the right direction.