Jelena joined Aston University in 2009 as a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations. Before joining Aston, Jelena held visiting fellowships at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki and the European Union Institute for Security Studies, Paris. Between October and December 2012, Jelena was a visiting fellow at the Center for European Studies, Harvard. Most recently, Jelena was a Harry and Helen Gray Reconciliation Fellow at the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies, Johns Hopkins University.
In 2015, Jelena was nominated for the Aston Excellence Awards in the Outstanding Teacher of the Year Category. She also received a nomination for the Most Engaging Academic in the My Astonishing Aston Academic Awards. In June 2015, she was awarded the British International Studies Association and Higher Education Academy Teaching Excellence Award.