Jonathon Youshaei

Class Year: 

2013
Hometown: Highland Park, Illinois, USA

School: 

Deerfield High School

Language: 

Arabic

Student Background

A first-generation American, Jonathon grew up speaking Farsi, Hebrew and English. His parents left Iran during the revolution of 1979, and he credits them with laying the foundation for him to pursue his passions and develop his love for languages.

A dedicated athlete, Jonathon ran a 4:43 mile and was captain of his track & field and cross country teams at Deerfield High School. He also combined his love of sports with his passion for philanthropy in starting The Charity Stripe, a sport-centric non-profit he founded to raise money for inner city Chicago schools. His organization raised $4,000 by acquiring and auctioning off sports memorabilia autographed by athletes like Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce.

The Huntsman Experience

Jonathon says that coming to Huntsman “has exceeded all of my expectations. The things I learned freshman year and what I’ve carried since have made me realize how small the world can be if you’re able to relate to such a diverse group of people.” Jonathon first learned about the program from J.J. Fliegelman – a fellow Huntsman student and Jonathon’s tour guide when he visited campus as a high school junior. In addition to meeting J.J., Jonathon is thankful that the Huntsman Program “puts you in touch with so many interesting people and really accelerates your growth both personally and professionally.”

As a freshman, Jonathon became the first Huntsman student ever to be elected Class President, and says that he is grateful for the world of encouragement he received from the Huntsman community. He says he could not have done it without the support of his roommate, Marc Habib. He has since been re-elected four times, thanks to well-attended class events and a campaign video that went viral (over 8,500 views) featuring Larry King and an original rap song.

While Jonathon and his board helped plan over 25 class events and initiatives, he was most excited about their work in revamping Skimmer, an age-old campus event centered on athletics.  The event was a big success and drew in over 1,200 attendees with live music, free food, and hot air balloons.

Beyond the Classroom

Academically, Jonathon has focused on Entrepreneurship & Innovation in Wharton and on Arabic culture in the School of Arts & Sciences.  In 2010, Jonathon was able to apply what he learned in class to help found his start-up business, CrowdQuest, a site focused on providing Groupon-style discounts to college campuses. Jonathon founded the website with fellow Huntsman student and close friend Paul Mimoun Cadosch. Together, they built the site, signed up restaurants, and brought in over 1,000 customers. Originally created with Penn in mind, the site recently expanded to Yale and plans to expand to other universities in the future. 

This summer, Jonathon will be interning at Google and is really excited to be joining the large Penn community in Silicon Valley. In his future endeavors, Jonathon knows he will take with him a global outlook and a resolve to impact the world for the better.