After graduating from Louisiana State University, Gerdes received a National Geographic Young Explorers Grant. As a National Geographic Explorer, she conducted an oral history project about the New Orleans Ninth Ward neighborhood and blogged for National Geographic News Watch and National Geographic Traveler magazine’s Intelligent Travel Blog. She has spoken about her Ninth Ward research at the 2014 Columbia University Oral History Summer Institute and at National Geographic Headquarters on multiple occasions.
While living in DC, she was published in The Huffington Post and Bethesda Magazine’s Applause, in addition to DC arts publications. In Pittsburgh, she served as the development editor at Pop City Media.
Gerdes’ book, based on her National Geographic project, “An Oral History of the New Orleans Ninth Ward” comes out April 3, 2017 from Pelican Publishing. At age 27, this is her first book.
Gerdes also currently works as a contributing writer for millennial women’s site Bustle.com and serves as digital producer for National Geographic Museum & National Geographic Live. She has been published in HelloGiggles, XOJane, Thought Catalog, Time Out New York, National Geographic Magazine online, The Advocate (Baton Rouge) and more.