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November 27, 2023

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame Prep, an independent, Catholic, International Baccalaureate school, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

Notre Dame Prep alum Jonathan Karr "runs" to his finish at the University of Notre Dame and charges toward a PhD in computer science.

Jonathan Karr NDP'20, a senior at the University of Notre Dame, loves his daily runs. In fact, he currently has one of the top 3,000 running streaks in the world, over 1,000 days and counting.

The National Intercollegiate Running Club Association (NIRCA) is the national governing body for club-level collegiate cross country, road running and track and field clubs at more than 50 colleges and universities across the U.S.

At the University of Notre Dame, Jonathan Karr NDP'20 has been a member of the NIRCA club since he was a freshman, serving as race coordinator last year and media chair this year. Endlessly upbeat and a man of faith, Karr, who runs every single day, is a dynamo who's looking forward to the next lap of his life, likely a PhD in computer science.

But Karr says all would not be possible had it not been for his Notre Dame Prep experience.

"I am so grateful for Notre Dame Prep paving the way for me," he said. "Notre Dame Prep’s International Baccalaureate program, especially, laid a solid foundation that helped me succeed in college. And the experiences of Kairos and NDP's Catholic and Marist foundation guided me in deepening my faith even further throughout college."

He also credits his Catholic university in furthering his devotion to God.

"The UND community has helped me with my faith just as it was leading me to re-discover my passion for computer science," he added. "For example, at Notre Dame, I’ve been part of the Stanford Hall for all four years. Each dorm on campus has a chapel, and at Stanford we’re lucky to have daily Mass. Also, having two Holy Cross priests and a Holy Cross brother in our dorm also has helped me in my faith journey."

Research at the university level

He's also enjoyed his role as the sacristan of the Stanford Hall chapel.

Karr's longtime passion for computers also has led to a computer science major at Notre Dame with a cybersecurity concentration and minors in theology and engineering corporate practice. Additionally, he's been working on research with Dr. Paul Brenner, who is senior associate director at Notre Dame's Center for Research Computing. 

Karr, far right, serves as media chair for the Notre Dame Running Club, 

The research is funded by the U.S. Navy and supports $27 million in funding for research in advanced computing, computational biology, cybersecurity, data science, software and systems engineering and artificial intelligence. 

Karr adds that they've recently been doing work with natural language processing and knowledge graphs, which, he notes, has been a bit less strenuous due to IB at Notre Dame Prep. 

"In particular, the internal assessments component of the IB program was a big help in preparing me for such college research." 

But he also credits his high school's multi-faceted extracurricular focus on STEM for his overall success in college.

"The Killer Bee’s robotics team helped nurture my passion for data and computer science and even helped me in obtaining internships at Qualcomm for the past three summers," he said.

Running with former classmates

Current NDP I.T. director Eden Konja also was influential in developing Karr's computer science skills in high school. 

"As the CyberPatriot coach at NDP, Mr. Konja showed me how computer science skills can be applied in the real world," Karr said. "Additionally, he helped me obtain IT and Python certifications while in high school."

Meanwhile, as Karr finishes up at the University of Notre Dame, he said he's in the process of applying to computer science PhD schools that hopefully will further his interests in data mining and its relationship with ethics, artificial intelligence and graph learning.

He's also catching up with former high school classmates, like Jenny Ohlsson NDP'20, who runs cross country for Oakland University's D-1 team.

"This year, the Notre Dame Running Club and Oakland University’s NCAA team have participated together in the Joe Piane Invitational hosted by Notre Dame, and the Bradley University 'Pink' Classic meets," Karr said. "So whether it’s going back to high school cross country practices during fall break or racing against former teammates like Jenny, I’m always grateful to remain connected to the Notre Dame Prep community."

Karr is with fellow 2020 NDP grad Jenny Ohlsson, who runs for Oakland University's cross country and track and field teams.

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame Prep, an independent, Catholic, International Baccalaureate school, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

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Follow Notre Dame on Twitter at @NDPMA.

About Notre Dame Preparatory School 
Notre Dame Preparatory School is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School's upper school enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame Prep's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three schools are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the National Association of Independent Schools. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School, visit the school’s home page at