Cambodian-Americans face social, cultural and economic difficulties, along with similar communities from Laos and Vietnam.
Their teachers are also farmers or market vendors, supplementing their incomes with outside work that keeps them out of the classroom.
This BarCamp was Cambodia's third annual gathering, but it has seen a doubling in attendance since 2008.
The hope was to equip them with skills for their advanced education.
Chhany Sak Humphry was awarded the Regent's Medal for Excellence in Teaching at the University of Hawaii.
Katherine Belida is a member of Language Corps and is traveling to Cambodia to teach English.
High cost of education means that many do not finish their university studies, which cost an average $1,600 for four years.
Leadership roles in public institutions are lacking for today's youth, a development expert said Monday.
The author of a Khmer Rouge memoir who now lives in the US is raising funds to help education in Cambodia.